CAPTION: Kurt Kassner will pitch at Howard College. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
Burnet High School athletes Kurt Kassner and Jackson Crawford will play college baseball after signing their National Letters of Intent.
Kassner will play at Howard College, while Crawford is headed to Milwaukee Area Technical College. Braden Ellett-Clark, who signed to play football at McMurry University, also will play baseball for the War Hawks.
“It goes back to how hard these kids work,” Burnet head coach Russell Houston said. “We were very fortunate to have three sign. I think it goes back a long ways to how hard those kids worked for four years. And they have great families. It takes a village.”
Kassner is a left-handed pitcher who throws in the mid 80s.
“They’re highly recruitable,” Houston said. “The potential is there. He’s a very smart kid, top 10 percent academically. He’s a positive leader. Even when things weren’t going great for him, he didn’t shut it down. He was supportive to the other pitchers. He was supportive of the other guys coming after him. He’s a big team guy. I’m super proud of him.”
Crawford was recruited as an outfielder.
“Jackson has just scratched the surface of how good he’s going to be,” Houston said. “He’s the type of kid who enjoys practice. I think he’s going to have a great chance at being the dude at the next level. He has the size and speed. He’s only going to get better. I think he’ll put on another 20 pounds and get faster and stronger. I think he’s the ultimate competitor. He hates to lose. He doesn’t like losing at anything.”
One important contribution Crawford made didn’t happen on the field or at the plate. It was during the half innings as he served as an encourager to his teammates. If the Bulldogs gave up runs, Crawford believed they’d get them back and told them. Or if they were playing defense, he told they were about to post a shutdown inning.
“He’s being positive,” the coach said. “Let’s ride the wave and stay on them like we are right now.’ He had a positive attitude.”
Ellett-Clark also was used as a middle reliever and other spots. Houston noted he and Kassner emphasized the team aspects of the sport instead of the individuality of being the pitcher, adding teams don’t win 21 games in a season if players have not bought into the team aspect.
“They work and they compete,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some good kids. They put in a lot of hard work and a lot of extra time that no one sees. They’re all huge team guys and great teammates.”
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