CAPTION: Burnet pitcher Kurt Kassner and the Bulldogs add another District 24-4A series victory to the win column. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
The Burnet High School baseball team crushed Lago Vista 14-4 to win the District 24-4A series April 25 in a contest that ended in the sixth inning.
The two teams will play the final game in Lago Vista at 7 p.m. Friday, April 28.
“We got two-out hits,” Burnet head coach Russell Houston said. “We were able to get (the final out) with two outs (without allowing runs). I can’t be more proud of the seniors on senior night.”
After Houston wrapped up his comments, he found his seniors and gave each a hug.
The night belonged to the Bulldogs, who walked into their home ball park with a purpose.
After forcing the lead-off Viking to hit into a ground-out, the next hit a single and then stole second, while the next batter walked. Pitcher Kurt Kassner struck out the next batter and forced the next to hit into a groundout to strand two Vikings.
Teammate Jackson Crawford, who went 4 for 4 on the night, singled into center-right field, went to second on a balk, then stole third and scored on a pass ball for the 1-0 lead at the end of the first inning.
The Bulldogs added to the lead in the third inning. After Will Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second, Dash Denton hit a RBI double then went to third on a pass ball. Kassner hit a RBI double, while Trey Morrow hit a RBI single for a 4-0 advantage.
Burnet added to the lead in the fourth inning. Gilbert Valdez walked and reached third when Crawford singled. A double steal allowed Valdez to score while Crawford went to second. Crawford stole third and later scored for the 6-0 advantage.
Lago Vista responded in the fifth inning by scoring four runs to trim the deficit to 6-4.
Kassner answered in Burnet’s half of the inning by hitting a lead-off home run. That triggered a six-run inning where the Bulldogs took advantage of walks and stole bases. In all Burnet sent 11 batters and the only way Lago Vista got the outs was through strikeouts. In all the Vikings used four pitchers.
Meanwhile Burnet forced Lago Vista to go three up, three down in the top of the sixth and plated two runs in its half of the inning to enact the run-rule and end the contest.
Pitcher Kassner got the win thanks to allowing two earned runs off five hits and striking out four in 4 1/3 innings. Braden Ellett-Clark pitched the remaining innings.
“Tonight was a good night,” Houston said of Kassner’s performance. “You can tell early with him. When’s he down in the zone, he’s pitching well. We want him to throw between 85 to 90 pitches; that’s about where we want him to be at. Braden did what we asked him to do. He came in and threw strikes and made them hit it.”
Houston couldn’t commend his athletes enough for their play, noting every one who batted contributed whether that was by reaching base and scoring or getting a RBI or by coming through on a sacrifice.
“They were able to get two-out hits,” he said. “They fought. If we play the way we’re capable, we’ll be in every game.”
The Bulldogs showed they put last week’s setback to Marble Falls behind them and illustrated their commitment to finishing the district campaign with momentum. Their win combined with Jarrell’s 10-1 loss to the Mustangs gives Burnet a one-game lead to finish second in the district with a contest remaining.
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