By Rick Assad
So far, the Arcadia High baseball team has waltzed through the Pacific League schedule.
On Tuesday, host Burbank seemed primed for a good effort against the high-riding Apaches, but along the way senior pitcher Ian Schenk tore away some skin from a finger on his throwing hand and could only get through the second inning.
Schenk, a left-handed hurler and a lefty batter, allowed three runs and had to give way, and once he did, Arcadia then used a seven-run third inning en route to a 12-2 triumph.
“I tried to compete as much as I could in the bullpen. My slider was tight, my two-seam [fastball] was tailing, my change[up] was dipping and tailing, but in the first inning my finger got busted open,” said Schenk, who allowed seven hits with four walks and two hit batters with two strikeouts. “I tried to throw it [the baseball], but I didn’t have much command.”
Schenk, who fanned swinging in the first and third inning and had an infield single in the fifth, said this problem isn’t going to keep him from his next assignment on the mound.
“Going forward, I’m going to gorilla glue my finger and continue to compete next week,” he said.
Bob Hart, the Burbank coach, was confident his squad would bounce back.
“Our pitching struggled primarily because of the blister Schenk was battling,” he noted. “Anytime they put up a crooked number in an inning, it can get scary very quickly. We respond with resiliency and character.”
Hart added: “Hopefully that’s been our message all along and we have the guys to do it,” he said. “One game doesn’t define you and again, that’s my message to them.”
Senior Casey Spencer, a hard-throwing right-hander, toiled five effective frames for the Apaches (13-3 and 7-0 in league), giving up four hits and two runs with 11 strikeouts.
Arcadia collected 14 hits to five for the Bulldogs and was paced by junior Alex Dolan, who finished with five hits including a double.
Senior Devin LeClair had a single and a double for Burbank and senior Jacob Drossin bashed a solo-homer to right center in the fifth inning.
Arcadia jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the initial frame as junior Daniel Chavez knocked in a run after being hit by a pitch.
Senior Matthew McIntire contributed a bases-loaded walk for a run batted in.
The Bulldogs (10-2 and 8-1 in league) trimmed the lead in half with a run in the bottom half of the inning.
LeClair slapped an opposite-field double to left that scored senior Jaden Rez, who clubbed a two-out, two-base hit off the fence in left field.
Junior Daniel Neria went hitless in three at-bats, but also indicated this isn’t how the Bulldogs operate.
“I felt like we didn’t play our best game. We tried to focus on ourselves individually instead of focusing as a whole and coming through as a team,” said Neria, who struck out looking in the first inning, fanned swinging in the fourth and flied to right field in the sixth inning. “Our bats were solid against a guy [Spencer], who threw very well, but our mentality during most of the game was about our own individual performance. Today wasn’t our best, but you best believe we will come back striking on Friday.”
Arcadia scored a solo tally in the second inning on Dolan’s run-scoring single to center field to make it 3-1.
Burbank senior Greg Krikorian came in and worked the third inning and faced 12 batters.
Junior Jack Esquerra delivered a bad-hop, run-scoring single to left field and three batters later, Dolan’s double to left plated two more runners.
Senior Mikey Easter followed with an RBI single to left field, while senior Julian Eskridge tossed in a run-producing hit to left center. Two batters later, McIntire’s single brought in another run.
Senior Olaf Kuiper picked up in the fourth inning for the Bulldogs and didn’t allow a run.
Kuiper did surrender an infield hit to Dolan and after issuing a walk to Easter, induced Eskridge to hit into a force for the third out.
Kuiper had a successful fifth inning despite hitting Chavez, the leadoff hitter in the frame, who was later picked off.
Kuiper then fanned McIntire swinging and retired sophomore Devon Eskridge on a dropped third strike.
Arcadia touched Kuiper for a run in the sixth inning as he allowed three hits, including Dolan’s RBI infield single.
Junior David McBride toiled in the seventh inning for Burbank and gave up senior Brandon Nguyen’s run-scoring infield single.