BURNET — Llano’s thundering three-run homer in the first inning may faze some teams, but the Burnet High School softball team didn’t even blink.
Instead, the Lady Dawgs (14-6 overall, 2-0 in district) answered right back in the 11-7 victory in the home-opener of the District 8-3A contest Tuesday.
The Lady Dawgs will welcome Leander Vandegrift 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Bulldog Diamonds, 1000 The Green Mile.
Meanwhile, in the Tuesday game, sophomore Kati Maldonado matched Llano’s three-run homer with one of her own, while junior Savannah Erskine went 4-for-4 from the plate.
The Lady Dawgs coupled their power with solid pitching and defense.
“It was a very important win,” Lady Dawgs head coach Amanda Carpenter said. “We played through several injuries and an ill pitcher and held Llano scoreless after the first inning until their final at-bat.”
Following Llano’s early explosion, Burnet didn’t waste any time in responding with a leadoff single by Erskine, an RBI base hit by sophomore Hillary Foster and Maldonado’s crushing home run over left field to take charge, 4-3.
The Lady Dawgs continued the barrage with one run in both the third and fourth innings, two more in the fifth and three in the sixth for a commanding 11-3 advantage.
Not willing to fold, the Lady Jackets pushed four runs across with two outs in the seventh inning before the Lady Dawgs squelched the rally.
In the circle, sophomore pitcher Kristen Spinn went the distance for the win, striking out five and allowing 10 hits.
“Kristen has been our ace on the mound this season,” Carpenter said. “She has pitched well enough in each game for us to have a great chance to win. She has 14 wins on the season and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of five to one. She is a very crafty left-handed pitcher with a lot of movement, who worked extremely hard on her weaknesses in the offseason. She will give us every opportunity to win each night. If we make our pitches and stay away from free passes onto the bases, we will be very difficult to beat.”
Credit for Burnet’s power hitting and defensive prowess went deep down the roster. Erskine, coming off a season-ending leg break a year ago, recorded four singles, one RBI, two steals and scored a run in the win.
“Savannah is having an incredible season this year,” the coach said. “She is our leader on defense at shortstop and has hit the ball consistently all year.”
Sophomore Allison Eaton, praised by the Burnet skipper for her vast improvement in her position as well as at the plate, scored a run for the Lady Dawgs while senior Kerstyn Towslee doubled and had one RBI.
Besides a homer, Maldonado scored four runs, had three RBIs, a steal and two singles.
Foster, one of the team’s leaders in virtually every offensive category, recorded a steal, scored a run and had an RBI.
Sophomore Amanda Green, a clutch player, had a single and scored in the contest, while senior Darcy Jacoby scored a run as well and had one RBI.
Sophomore Samantha Lawrence doubled, singled, scored a run and posted a stolen base.
Junior Ashten Huddleston had two doubles, three RBIs and scored a run.
“I believe that we should be in the hunt for a district championship if we continue to play solid defense and have timely hitting at the plate,” Carpenter said. “We have a great deal of potential and have set high goals for ourselves as a team. We are taking one game at a time and plan on making a lot of noise in 3A softball this season.”