Burleson’s Shaha is top defensive player
The numbers don’t lie for Burleson first baseman Parker Shaha.
In 15 District 9-5A games, the senior had 103 chances, didn’t make an error and turned seven double plays.
Those totals helped Shaha garner Defensive Player of the Year honors on the recently released District 9-5A baseball team.
Shaha took over at first base after playing third last season. The plan this season was for Shaha to split time at first base, but once Burleson coach Daniel Bruce saw him play there, he decided Shaha was his everyday first baseman.
“He moved to first from third last year and didn’t make an error this season,” Bruce said. “That tells you the kind of player Parker was for us. He was driven. He had great want to and a strong work ethic.”
To go along with his glove, Shaha hit .294 with a .540 slugging percentage in 9-5A play. He also added 16 RBI, two doubles, and three home runs in 15 district games.
“He was also one of our biggest offensive contributors this season,” Bruce said. “It’s kind of misleading him being Defensive Player of the Year because he was right there in the Offensive Player of the Year voting.
After getting off to a bad start in the first half of district play, the Elks turned things around in the second half. Burleson, which ended the first half of 9-5A play with a 3-4 record, went 6-1 in the second half to finish tied for third with Granbury. The Elks then lost to regional finalist Mansfield Legacy in the opening round of the playoffs to finish with a record of 18-15.
“Legacy is a good team and made it to the regional final,” Bruce said. “The way the kids finished the year, I couldn’t be more proud of them considering the adversity they faced during the first half of district. Having 10 seniors helped us out tremendously.”
The Elks had three first-team players in seniors Christian Hallack, Nik Sanchez and J.T. Smith.
Hallack was the Elks’ ace in district play and non-district competition.
The senior posted a record of 5-2 in seven starts with an ERA of 2.17. In 48.1 innings he allowed 50 hits, 15 earned runs, walked five and struck out 34.
“You are always looking that consistent pitcher who can give the team a chance to win every time he went to the mound and that was Christian,” Bruce said. “There was not a single time that he didn’t do his thing, which was to throw strikes, get outs and give us a chance to win. That’s all you can ask any pitcher to do. The confidence level of the team and the coaching staff when he went to the mound was unparalleled.”
Sanchez was solid behind the plate at catcher and at the plate with a bat. The three-year starter spent his last two seasons catching after playing third base as a sophomore.
“He’s always been a catcher going back to when I had him in camp when he was a young buck,” Bruce said. “He can swing it and managed the game behind the plate. I can’t thank him enough for what he has done in a high school career for the Elks.”
In district competition, Sanchez hit .268 with a .439 slugging percent and a .415 on-base percentage. He drove in 10 runs, hit four doubles, one home run and drew 11 walks.
Smith, who took over at third bases this season, led the team in hitting during district play with a .383 average. He had .473 OBP and a .426 slugging percentage as the Elks’ leadoff hitter. He scored 17 runs, had five RBI and two doubles.
“He made a complete turnaround going from being very inconsistent at the plate to being our leadoff hitter,” Bruce said. “He was super solid at third base all season, starting in our first tournament when he was making diving catches and throwing people out.”
Burleson had a pair of second-team players in junior pitcher Kayden Cassidy and senior outfielder Davin White.
Cassidy went 3-2 in district play in six starts. He tossed 30.2 innings, allowing 27 hits and 10 earned runs while fanning 27.
White locked downed right field for the Elks while hitting .286 with four doubles, seven RBI and 12 runs scored.