In the game’s final at-bat in the eighth inning, Burbank High’s Dominik Severo knew the winning run was standing on third base and merely wanted to make contract.
Severo did and when junior Chad Ruf’s offering found his bat and then sizzled into center field for a base hit, junior pinch runner Adam Loera, who entered for junior Troy Lee, who was nicked by a pitch to lead off the frame, crossed the plate with the game-winning run, the Bulldogs earned a hard-fought 3-2 win over visiting Crescenta Valley on Tuesday night in a Pacific League game.
The extra-inning affair also snapped Burbank’s 19-game losing streak against the Falcons, who fell for the first time in league this season.
In the inning, junior Tyler La Marsna, who came in as a pinch hitter, laid down a sacrifice bunt, but was safe at first base on a Falcon throwing error.
Junior Jakob Duarte also laid down a well-placed sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners to second and third base.
“I was a little nervous, but I just thought I have to stay composed and play my game and hit it through the infield and that’s just what I did,” said Severo, a junior, who had two hits including an infield single in the fourth. “I got out of the box and took three breaths and just relaxed and put it out of my mind.”
The contest drifted into extra innings when the Falcons (12-6 and 6-1 in league) scored in the sixth that made it 2-2 when junior Isaac Sung’s blistering double to center field scored junior Chase Smith, who drew a walk to begin the frame.
The Bulldogs forged ahead 2-1 with a tally in the fifth inning as junior Oaklee Spens led off with a bloop single to left, went to second on a grounder by sophomore Ryan King, stole third base and came home on a wild pitch.
Neither team scored until the third inning when Crescenta Valley made it 1-0. Sophomore Will Grimm delivered a one-out infield single, took second on senior Andrew De La Torre’s wild pitch and advanced to third base on an infield single by senior Brian Ghattas.
When Ghattas took off for second base and the throw was on its way, Grimm bolted for home and scored.
“You pitch. You play catch and you put balls in play and run the bases the right way, good things are going to happen,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said. “I’m always happy when it’s a quality win. They’re a quality program. Anytime you can do well against them, it’s a feather in your cap.”
De La Torre was superb, allowing six hits with three walks and two strikeouts across seven innings.
Grimm was De La Torre’s equal, working seven innings, striking out five, walking four with five hits yielded.
The Bulldogs (5-9-1 and 5-2 in league) leveled it at 1-1 with a tally in the third inning as Lee’s single to right center brought in Spens, who led off with a hit to right center, and scooted to second base on King’s sacrifice bunt.
After senior Davis Mieliwocki walked, senior Daniel Ruiz was safe on a force out as Spens took third base.
Mieliwocki played third base and made three spectacular defensive plays.
“He got some action,” Hart said. “Even the ball he didn’t get, he knocked down and saved a run.”
Both teams used a pair of hurlers and each reliever was the pitcher of record as senior Joey Clark was credited with the victory after venturing one inning, walking one, hitting one batter and allowing one hit.
“My team was mentally into it tonight,” Hart said. “You could tell from the get-go and we had a terrible infield.”
Ruf absorbed the setback after surrendering one hit with a hit batter in one-third of an inning.
De La Torre’s initial inning saw him face four hitters as Grimm grounded to second base, junior Vincent Parrott reached on an infield single, but erased when Ghattas lined to center field and Grimm was picked off at first base on the return throw.
De La Torre faced five batters in the second inning as Smith lined to right field, sophomore Noah Maddox drew a walk and raced to second base on Sung’s fielder’s choice.
De La Torre struck out junior Colby Rees swinging and sophomore Emilio Velis then flied to left field.
The fourth inning was a 1-2-3 frame for De La Torre, who induced Maddox to ground to shortstop, Sung to foul out to first base and Rees to bounce out to third base.
In De La Torre’s fifth inning, the right-hander walked Velis to begin the frame and induced senior Jamie Bleveans to pop up to the catcher.
Grimm singled to center field, Parrott reached on a force out as Velis became the second out and Ghattas flied to left.
De La Torre faced four batters in the seventh inning as Velis grounded to second base, Bleveans reached on an infield hit, but Grimm flied to center field and Parrott fanned looking.
Also getting base hits for the Bulldogs were Ruiz in the first inning and junior Aidan Gonzalez in the seventh.