By Nathan Cambridge
Burbank High School’s baseball team has yet to be defeated in Pacific League play, but the Bulldogs are not alone atop the leaderboard and needed to keep it up against Glendale to stay in control of their destiny.
Against the visiting Nitros, Burbank came to life near the game’s midpoint to come away with a 5-2 victory Tuesday afternoon.
“I thought [Glendale] did a good job early on and we responded well in the middle innings,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said. “Sometimes if it doesn’t go your way early, you kind of fade away. We didn’t fade away.”
The game was tied at one with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning when Burbank (9-1 overall, 7-0 in the Pacific League) got things going. Bulldog Ryan King slashed a single into left field. Then, with Jaden Rez up, King stole second base. Rez smacked a single up the middle to drive in King for the hosts’ first lead of the contest.
Burbank tacked on another run, now with two outs, after Daniel Neria was intentionally walked. Rez promptly stole third base for runners at the corners. Soon after, Neria was caught off first base, but as the Nitros looked to get the junior in a rundown, Rez sprinted home for the steal and another run.
“It was just heads-up base running,” Rez said.
The inning then ended as Nitro starting pitcher Milan Burgarin recorded his third and final strikeout of the affair.
After a scoreless top of the sixth, the Bulldogs scored two more insurance runs off of Javier Solis, who took over on the mound for Glendale (5-6 overall, 2-3 league). Joshua DiPietro led off by legging out a bunt single. Solis then walked Jose Avellaneda. Jared Cantu advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt to set up Ian Schenk. Schenk responded by driving in both runners with a single.
Burbank had started lefthander Ian Schenk, who pitched the first four innings, allowing one run and two hits. However, the senior suffered a bloody blister on his finger and was replaced by Avellaneda, who was credited with the win. Both recorded three strikeouts.
After falling behind, Burbank rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Neria hit a single into center field to plate Rez from third. Rez had led off the frame with a double to deep center field and later stolen third base to set up Neria.