Cousins lead Diamond 'Canes

In baseball, pitchers must be able to rely on their catchers. Monroe Area High School senior B.J. Burt relies on a catcher he can really trust, someone he has known all his life, his cousin, Trip Burt.

"We were always close growing up," B.J. said. "We began playing baseball together in T-ball. There's no doubt I feel comfortable with Trip at catcher. I know I can throw anything at him and he will catch it."

Likewise, Trip knows all about B.J.'s pitching style and is seldom surprised by anything his cousin might throw across the plate.

"I really know what he's thinking," Trip said. "We work well together."

The Burts have helped the Purple Hurricanes to a fast start this spring, winning their first two games by a combined 31-0.

MACHS baseball coach Rusty Hendricks is depending on both players this season.

"Both players are team leaders," said the second-year coach. "The team will follow their lead in terms of us being successful."

Hendricks said he was pleased with how much B.J. Burt has improved as a a pitcher.

"He actually had a great season last year," the coach said. "Right now, we expect him to get a win every time he pitches. That's how much he means to this team. He has worked hard to get to where he is now."

Hendricks also has praise for Trip Burt, who is the team leader behind the plate.

"Trip is the quarterback of our baseball team," Hendricks said. "If he has a bad day then we probably won't do well. He means so much to us defensively at catcher."

In Monroe Area's first two games this season, Trip Burt has thrown out all runners attempting to steal bases.

"To have a catcher like that means so much to your pitcher and your defense," Hendricks said. Both players hope their senior season will be memorable.

"I would like to see us go all the way," Trip said. "I think we can do great things this year. We just have to keep it going."

"I want to get in the playoffs and see what we can do," B.J. added. "If we keep working, we can do it."

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