Burrell uses brilliant pitching, timely small ball to beat Freeport

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024 | 9:30 PM


Flashy offense was not in the game plan for the Burrell Bucs. All they needed to do was effectively put the ball in play and execute on three separate occasions to back their starting pitcher.

Thanks to an exceptional performance on the mound from Stevie Hasson and timely small ball, the Bucs defeated Section 3-3A foe Freeport, 3-1, on Tuesday at Freeport Community Park.

It was a pitchers’ duel between Hasson, a junior left-hander, and Freeport’s Mathhew Corfield as both tossed complete games.

However, it was Hasson who threw three-hit ball while striking out six.

“Fantastic pitching performance from Stevie Hasson. He came out and threw nothing but strikes, and that’s all we’re asking,” Burrell coach Jay Miller said.

As the first-year coach noted, Hasson was proactive in getting ahead of batters, which let him settle in as he threw 65 strikes on 98 pitches.

“I was able to get ahead in counts real well, which puts me into a comfortable situation to throw more strikes and get ahead and limit my walks, which ultimately helped me help us win the game,” Hasson said.

With Hasson finding his groove, his offense broke through in the second inning.

After Justin Hyland worked a walk, he took off for second, which led to an errant throw into center. That allowed Hyland to safely reach third. Then, Trey Coury put down a clean suicide squeeze, which wound up freezing the defense and allowing Hyland to score and Coury to get on at first.

That’s exactly how the Bucs (3-4, 2-3) wanted to execute against the Yellowjackets (1-5, 1-4).

“We know small ball is a great way for us to succeed. We have some good speed on the bases, and we can take advantage of that,” Miller said.

On the defensive side, the throwing error to set up Hyland on third base was one of three on the day for the Yellowjackets.

“It’s not an excuse,” Freeport coach Ed Carr said. “We have a lot of young guys on the field. It’s something we practice every day on the field. We need to calm down and think about what you’re going to do when the ball’s bunted and the ball’s put it into play.”

Once again, Coury found himself in a similar situation in the top of the fourth with Hyland in scoring position — this time on second. The freshman then sliced one into right field to bring home Hyland for an RBI double and a 2-0 Bucs lead.

Small ball was back in effect in the top of the fifth as the Bucs utilized the strategy to bring in their third run.

It started with Dylan McKallip laying down a perfectly placed bunt up the first-base line to put runners on first and second. AJ McLafferty dropped down another bunt to advance the runners. With one out, Adam Wass lofted a sacrifice fly into the outfield to bring in Isaac Lacinski to make it 3-0 Bucs.

“We have to take those situations when we can. Make sure we get the bat on the ball with two strikes, and you saw that with the pop fly out in right field,” Miller said.

Attempting a comeback, the Yellowjackets finally scored in the bottom of the fifth. After Gavin Tola reached on an error, Dustin Kohan knocked a single up the middle to bring Tola in from second.

“In his second at-bat where he got deep in the count and then he changed his approach at the plate and battled, he was not going to give in,” Carr said about Kohan.

Despite Freeport striking in the fifth, it did not have any more answers for Hasson.

“His command of what he was throwing and where he was throwing, he threw it exactly where he wanted,” Carr said. “I thought we did adjust, but late in the game.”

For Freeport, Corfield allowed six hits and two earned runs. He struck out three.

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