CAPTION: Tanner O’Hair and the Bulldogs are looking to continue their season in a decisive game three against Salado that begins at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at Bulldog Diamonds. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
The Burnet High School baseball team defeated Salado 4-3 in eight innings May 6 in game two of the bi-district series after waiting through a five-hour weather delay in a contest that ended well past midnight.
Game three is set for 8 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at Bulldog Diamonds.
“Game three is all about who can make the routine plays,” Burnet head coach Russell Houston said. “I honestly believe it’s about who can score first. That relieves part of the pressure. Who scores first usually wins. Kids will put so much pressure on themselves. Both teams are playing for their season. The team that relaxes the most and plays their normal game wins game three.”
Kurt Kassner ensured a game three by scoring the winning run in game two on pass ball after he reached first on a walk. Tanner O’Hair moved him to second, and Kassner went to third on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Kassner hit a two-out RBI when the ball slipped underneath the third baseman’s glove to score Will Johnson, who reached base on a double.
Salado took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning.
Burnet responded in the fourth inning. With runners on second and third, the Salado pitcher was called for a balk that tied the game at 2-2. Trey Morrow hit a ground ball to first base that allowed the runner to score and give the Bulldogs a 3-2 advantage.
The Eagles tied the contest in the top of the seventh inning with a two-out hit. The runner was thrown out at third on a relay from Jackson Crawford to Gibby Valdez to Dash Denton.
Braden Ellett-Clark (1-0 in the playoffs) was the winning pitcher after throwing the final three innings. Denton “threw five quality innings,” Houston said, in a no decision.
“That’s a mentality for those kids,” he said.
Each team took a lockerroom in the field house as players and coaches waited out the storm.
“We hung out from six until we got out on the field,” Houston said. “At 11:30 p.m. we were warming up. It really was kind of crazy. The stands were full. They were all there.”
At about 7:45 p.m., the head coaches talked about whether to play a doubleheader on Saturday. Salado noted that since the Eagles were already in Burnet and couldn’t drive back through the storm, they didn’t mind waiting.
Houston said he told his players to simply perform like they have throughout the season.
“We don’t have to do anything special,” he recalled saying. “If we play the game we’re capable, we’ll have a shot. Once you do that, you feel confident you have a chance to win it. It was a lot of fun to be apart of. “
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