Tag Archives: Justin Palafox

Burroughs, Burbank Baseball Reach For The Stars

By Rick Assad

You know that the baseball season has begun when the weather begins to heat up and the sky turns a bright blue.

For Burroughs High and city rival Burbank, the two are looking to have a solid year and to make a dent in the Pacific League standings.

The Indians have divided four games in the Easton Tournament and are 3-4 overall this season.

Pitching is king. Burroughs has a number of solid arms in its arsenal. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs opens league play at Hoover on March 28 and visit Burbank on May 9 and host the Bulldogs on May 12.

“I’m not really sure what I have this season,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “We’ve been good at times this season and we’ve been not so good.”

In 2016, the Indians had a successful campaign after tying Crescenta Valley for the top spot in league.

Burbank will rely on steady work in the infield and outfield. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs began the season by winning the prestigious Easton tourney, 1-0, over highly-ranked Harvard-Westlake behind ace Kyle Nicol, who is now playing for Cal State Northridge.

Nicol’s place will be picked up by a bevy of competent arms like seniors Riley Hooper, Matthew Rudas, junior Salvador Cabezas and sophomore Niccolo Chuidian.

Additionally, Sherwood, who has been a longtime coach, will also have on the mound senior Henrik Buchanan, senior infielder Brandon Martinez, junior Jacob Real and junior Brandon Ortega.

Fundamentals are always stressed under Burroughs Coach Craig Sherwood. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

All of these hurlers will need to be efficient in order for the Indians to repeat what took place a season ago.

If the old saying that pitching and defense wins games, the Indians, who went 19-7 and 12-2 in league, will need this to be their mantra.

“I think CV’s the favorite to win league this year,” said Sherwood, whose team fell in the CIF Southern Section opening round in 2016. “They have strong pitching and they have good tradition. Burbank is much improved and I think we’re going to be in the mix along with Pasadena and Arcadia.”

For Burbank, under Coach Bob Hart, working in the batting cage is crucial. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sherwood stresses being able to catch and throw the baseball.

“Defense is always our No. 1 priority,” he said. “If you don’t hit well, you can always rely on your defense. It’s really important to have a good defense.”

Burroughs has several key players returning and they include senior infielder Justin Palafox, who batted .434 with 16 runs batted in and 17 runs scored, and junior first baseman Nathan Palafox, his younger brother.

“In high school, you don’t rebuild because there isn’t free agency,” Sherwood pointed out. “You reload and continue the winning tradition that we’ve built here.”

The other members include senior outfielder Angel Estrada, senior infielder Erik Gonzalez, junior outfielder/catcher Steven Gonzalez, junior catcher Matthew Diaz, junior outfielder Brandon Giraldo and junior outfielder/catcher Revin Diego.

The rest are junior outfielder Daniel Leonard, junior outfielder Andrew Jacob Barrera, junior outfielder Casey Cromie and freshman infielder Ricardo Perez.

For a Burroughs runner, it’s on your mark, get set and go. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank, which finished 9-13, 8-6 in league and lost to Mayfair in a postseason wild-card game, also has designs on being in the hunt.

Whether Burbank, which went 3-2 in the Easton tourney and is 3-3 this campaign, will be in the running actually depends on members of the highly-successful football team that include seniors Danny Porras and Jake Kelley.

Both Porras and Kelley have sustained fairly serious injuries, so Coach Bob Hart can’t count on them to play in that many games.

“If we’re healthy, I think we’re capable of being right there,” said Hart of the league race which begins at Muir on March 28. “If we’re not healthy, then the other guys have an opportunity to seize the moment and step up.”

For the Bulldogs, there’s no getting around taking grounders. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Porras is a first baseman and pitcher and was also tabbed honorable mention, while the other projected starters are senior and all-league pick, Henry Leake, at third base, sophomore Davis Mieliwocki at first base, senior Johnathan Castaneda at second base, junior Maxwell Meltzer at shortstop and junior Matthew Shaugabay at catcher.

The outfield will consist of senior Chris Minnick in left field, senior Branden Phillips in center field and junior Abiezer Delgado, who will also be the designated hitter, in right field.

Seniors Chris Guerra and Owen Ruiz will see time in the outfield as will senior Javier Reyes, who can also play catcher.

The pitching staff will be paced by senior Matt Lungaro and senior Colby Vosgien.

“I think our pitching is going to be fine,” Hart said. “Colby is a left-hander and has been injured, but we’re hoping that he’s going to be able to help us.”

Others on the squad include sophomore third baseman/outfielder Matthew Porras, junior first baseman/outfielder John Ennis and junior outfielder Erik Higgins.

Bombers Blank Rivals

Summer time is generally when teams can afford to make mistakes as essentially nothing is at stake.

Don’t tell that to the Burbank Bombers, though.

The Bombers, made up of Burroughs High players, did not have any errors in a 15-0 win over rival Burbank Friday in a Valley Invitational Baseball League game.

“Our defense is our number one priority,” Bombers coach Craig Sherwood said. “Playing catch is the number one thing we have to do game after game.”

Burroughs even has a ‘Play Catch’ sign in the dugout that is similar the University of Notre Dame’s “Play Like a Champion Today” in its football locker room.

“That sign is a very special thing for us,” Sherwood said. “If you play catch you’re going to be successful defensively.”

Three pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout for the Bombers as Riley Hooper went five innings, followed by Jacob Real and Matthew Rudas, who each pitched an inning.

IMG_8856

“It wasn’t the greatest game,” said Danny Porras of his team, which took the loss. “We just have to practice, get better and come back and win some games. We have to start putting things together to win games. “

Porras and Henry Leake gave the team made up of Burbank High players the best chances at scoring.

Leake hit two dangerous balls to center field in the third and fifth inning respectively, but Bombers center fielder Andres Salazar made fine catches to avoid what could be of extra-base hits.

Porras hit the ball up against the center field fence in the sixth inning.

IMG_8846

Hooper had three hits and reached base on all four of his plate appearances. He also scored three times.

On the mound he had five strikeouts in five innings.

Eight of Burroughs’ nine starters scored at least once. They were helped by six errors by the opposing team.

Justin Palafox and Daniel Leonard both scored twice.