The Aledo Bearcats’ baseball season came to an end on Friday, May 12, at the Depot in Cleburne.
Burleson swept Aledo out of the Class 5A playoffs with back-to-back wins in the area (second round) series by scores of 8-4 and 10-4, respectively.
After putting away Trimble Tech in the bi-district round of the playoffs, Aledo head baseball coach Chad Barry said the series with Burleson would be night and day different than the one-sided affair with the Bulldogs. Although the Bearcats’ record over the Elks in the second round of playoff baseball has been one of prolonged success, having dismissed Burleson from the playoffs each of the last two seasons, Barry cautioned his club to the formidable nature of their familiar foe.
Entering the series, the Bearcats (23-12) had managed to put their game all together in the weeks leading up to the playoffs as they locked down the top seed in District 5-5A. For much of the season as they struggled to find consistency with their approach at the plate, running the bases well, and avoiding the occasional defensive blunder, quality pitching was the aspect their game on which they were able to rely.
That was not the case for the series with Burleson (25-6).
Over the two-game series, Aledo pitchers struggled with their command early in counts, forcing them to pitch from behind. In Thursday’s series opener the Elks amassed 13 hits in the seven-inning affair. In Game 2 on Friday, the Bearcats issued nine free passes onto the bases while simultaneously giving up eight hits as Burleson batters once again found themselves in favorable counts often throughout the game. In total, Aledo walked 15 hitters in 14 innings of play over the two games.
“You can’t do things like that in the playoffs and expect to live long,” Barry said after Game 2.
“We walked six [on Thursday]. We walked nine [on Friday]. You can’t do that with teams like that can really swing the bat.”
Down a game in the best-of-three series, Aledo started off the home half of Game 2 aggressively. Brooks Dwinell reached base on a one-out fielding error by the Elks’ third baseman. He was quickly joined on the base path by Trace Mazon, who doubled to left to put both Bearcats in scoring position with the cleanup spot in the order coming to the plate.
Andrew Cambre did exactly what the cleanup batter is supposed to do. The senior designated hitter sent a shot right back up the box into center that cleared the bases as both Dwinell and Mazon came around to score.
In recent history, games between Aledo and Burleson have been dogfights where no lead is ever safe. That certainly held true on Friday. After Aledo went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, the Elks fired right back in the top of the second to go up by a score of 3-2.
In the bottom of the third the Elks picked up a pair of quick outs to start off the inning as the Burleson crowd started to make some noise down the first base side of the stands. With one swing of the bat Bryce McCain silenced the opposing fans as the Bearcat faithful jumped to their feet when he launched a missile over the left-field fence to tie the game up at 3-3.
Burleson broke the tie in the top of the fourth inning when they scored a go-ahead run to make it a 4-3 affair. The Elks’ advantage was quickly erased in the home half of the fifth inning as Mazon hit a solo shot over the wall in left as the Bearcats stormed out of the dugout in a raucous celebration as he trotted around the bases.
Unfortunately, the fireworks ran out for the Bearcats at that point. Five of the nine walks Burleson collected in the game came in the final two innings of play as they scored six runs to put the game out of reach for Aledo.
“They’re a good ballclub,” commended Barry of the Elks. “They were here last year. We put them out in the second round. They were young. They had a lot of kids coming back and they learned from that. They looked more like the aggressor. They kind of dictated everything in this series. I thought they out-hit us, they out-pitched us, they out-defensed us. Every time we would do something, they would counter. When we scored, they would come right back.”
In Game 1, Burleson took the early advantage plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back. The Elks added six more runs in the bottom of the fourth to put the Bearcats in an 8-0 hole with three innings left to play.
Hits by Mazon, Cambre, and Ryan Jones in the top of the fifth inning aided the Bearcats in cutting the deficit to four runs, but that was as close as they would get as the game came to a close.
Burleson 10, Aledo 4
Burleson 030 102 4 - 10 8 1
Bearcats 210 010 0 - 4 7 1
Aledo hitting: Boyd Thompson 1-for-4; Brooks Dwinell BB; Trace Mazon 3-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI;
Andrew Cambre 1-for-4, 2 RBI; Bosten Dwinell BB; Dylan Taylor BB; Garrett Rester 1-for-3;
Bryce McCain 1-for-3, HR, RBI.
Aledo pitching: Luke Saunders 5.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (2 earned), 4 BB, 3 K; Bo. Dwinell 0.0 IP, 2 R (2 earned), 3 BB; Jake Bumgardner 0.1 IP, H; Mazon 0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K; Luke
Taylor 0.1 IP, H.
Burleson 8, Aledo 4
Bearcats 000 040 0 - 4 7 1
Burleson 100 600 X - 8 13 0
Aledo hitting: Thompson 2-for-4, 2B; Br. Dwinell 1-for-3, HBP; Mazon 1-for-3, RBI, BB; Cambre 1-for-3, 2 RBI, BB; Ryan Jones 1-for-4, RBI; Rester 1-for-3.
Aledo pitching: Matthew Clark 3.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K; Taylor 0.1 IP, H, 3 ER, 2 BB; Garrett Addington 0.0 IP, 3 H, R (0 earned); Bumgardner 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here