JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — After a three-year hiatus, the Burnet High School softball team has qualified for the playoffs and will try to win a postseason contest for the first time in the program’s history.
The Lady Dawgs (18-4-2 overall, 8-2 co-District 25-4A champions) meet Gonzales (14-14, 7-5 in District 26-4A ) in a best-of-three bi-district series that begins at 7 p.m. April 30 at Canyon Lake High School, 8555 RM 32 in Fischer. Game 2 is 6 p.m. May 1 at Bastrop Cedar Creek, 793 Union Chapel Road in Cedar Creek. Game 3, if necessary, will be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of the second contest. Listen to the series at KBEYFM.com.
Burnet head coach Corey Bledsoe said Gonzales poses several challenges for his squad.
“They’re a well-balanced team,” he said. “They swing the bat well.”
Apaches junior catcher Kristeny Magallanes is known as the power hitter, Bledsoe added.
“She does a good job against lefty pitchers,” he said.
Junior Tori Lester is Gonzales’ top pitcher, who throws in the mid-50s.
Burnet, however, enters this series with plenty of confidence after its District 25-4A performance, Bledsoe said.
“We’ve slugged it out,” he said. “That prepared us. It works to our advantage. You have to play your best game when you face Lampasas, Liberty Hill, Salado, even Taylor, who finished fifth. You had to bring your A game.”
He noted the Lady Dawgs had to face Lampasas and Liberty Hill in back-to-back games that required getting mentally ready to play and a short memory between contests. Having that kind of mentality will only help in a playoff series, he said.
“I wanted our girls to play at an elite level,” he said.
The Lady Dawgs’ ability to produce runs has been a staple for the past several years. But this year, the team’s pitching staff of Mackenzie Carpenter and Amber Womack and the defense has been able to limit opponents’ scoring opportunities. And that also has eased the minds and pressure on the hitters, the coach said. Carpenter has given up 10 earned runs off 59 hits with 16 walks and 210 strikeouts this season.
“They give us a good mental state,” he said of the pitchers. “You know those two girls are going to keep the game close. We have the opportunity to win a playoff game. We’re ready to step up to the challenge.”
As a team, Burnet has a .351 batting average on the season with 157 runs scored.
Bledsoe said the success of the season comes down to the squad’s motto: We’re a family.
“We play as a unit rather than a bunch of individuals,” he said. “I honestly believe that has helped us more than anything. We are all pulling in the same direction.”