By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
It was a doubleheader day of playoff baseball and both Burbank and Burroughs rose up to the occasion with wild card victories on their home fields. The Bulldogs, co-champions of the Pacific League, rallied from a 3-1 deficit to knock off Cajon, 7-4, while the Indians jumped out to a 5-0 lead en route to a 7-3 win against San Luis Obispo.
The two cross-town rivals advance to CIF Division 2 first-round games this Friday on the road.
Burbank 7 Cajon 4
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning, Burbank scored four runs courtesy of three singles coming with two outs.
With one run already in on a Cajon error, Burbank’s Angel Roman drove in Dylan Mersola and Hector Rodriguez followed with an RBI single to right field bringing home Harrison Hernandez. Christopher Okimoto then singled to center to load the bases.
Sensing a golden opportunity to steal a run for his team, Roman then stole home to give BHS a 5-3 lead. The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning on an RBI double from Mersola and another on a Cowboys error, one of six in the game.
Okimoto went 3-for-3 while Mersola and Ian McKinnon added two hits apiece. Five different Bulldogs drove in runs.
“Every time I’m up there I’m looking for a first-pitch fastball. I like to stay aggressive and not get down in the count,” Okimoto said. “I see myself as the second leadoff guy; get on base, do my job and let my team work.”
Joey Bogenschutz garnered the win for Burbank throwing 4.2 innings and giving up three runs. Shaun Troy did an excellent job in relief striking out three and allowing no hits in two innings of work. Ricky Perez earned his fifth save of the season throwing two pitches, getting two outs and shutting the door on Cajon (13-14).
Burbank (17-8) now travels up north to play at Arroyo Grande on Friday at 3:15 p.m. Arroyo Grande (17-6-3) is the champion of the Pac-7 League.
“We haven’t won a playoff game in I don’t know how long. It’s good to go into that second game knowing you have confidence and knowing that you go out there and beat anybody,” Okimoto said. “Just like my coach says, we don’t play the team we play the game of baseball.”
It was the Bulldogs’ first win in the postseason during Coach Bob Hart’s nine years at the helm. A league title was captured for the first time in 22 years. Now add a playoff win to the checklist.
Burroughs 7 San Luis Obispo 3
The Indians played a solid game in all facets as they controlled the game from the outset and never looked back. Daniel Barraza threw an effective six innings allowing six hits and striking out five.
The Indians scored three runs in the bottom of the second and were on their way from there.
Aiden Anding executed a picture perfect bunt to score Luis Pereyra and Miles Haddad followed with a single. Two more runs scored on an error by the SLO shortstop to give JBHS a quick 3-0 lead.
An inning later, the Indians added two more runs to break out to a 5-0 advantage. Chris Davies singled to bring home Akira Abderrahman and Haddad drove in Pereyra with a single to centerfield. Haddad finished 3-for-3 and two RBI’s while Pereyra scored three runs for the Indians. Davies went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored.
“It was the first time we‘ve played like this in a while. It’s a one game elimination so we have to come together now,” said Haddad, who will be a walk-on at the University of Pacific in the fall. “We had a disappointing last couple of games in league to finish off. We know what we can do. That’s the way we want to play.”
Barraza breezed through the first four innings against San Luis Obispo (15-13) limiting the Tigers to only two hits. He struggled in the fifth and sixth innings giving up three runs and four hits.
Brandon Ortega came in the seventh and retired the final three batters after a lead-off walk.
Burroughs (17-11) travels to play at Los Osos (20-5), the Baseline League champion, on Friday at 3:15 p.m.
“It will be a good trip. It’s just another team that we have to play the same way we did today to get a win,” Haddad said. “I hope we can keep playing. It’s our last year for nine of us.”