By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Culminating a run of six consecutive victorious elimination games, the Burbank Nationals claimed the Majors championship of the District 16 Tri-Cities Tournament of Champions with a 6-1 victory against the Gangi of Crescenta Valley.
Carter Kessinger pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing one run and striking out 11. Blaine Traxel went 2-for-3 with two RBI’s. Chris Magoon added a hit and played a significant role behind the plate. He caught every inning of the tournament doing a magnificent job of working with the pitching staff.
Tied at one apiece after the first inning, the Nationals added two runs in the third to take the lead for good. They would score twice more in the sixth inning to ice the game.
The Nationals (25-1) lost their initial game of the tournament then ran the table, defeating the Gangi twice in two days. It was a special season for a team that went undefeated during the regular season with 19 consecutive wins and then willed their way to the championship with their backs against the wall.
“This was a special team to coach. After we lost the first game of the tournament none of the coaches panicked. We knew what this team was capable of,” Nationals manager Thomas Magoon said. “From the beginning of the season I just had a feeling this team was destined to win this tournament.
“At some point during the season each player did something above their ability to either help win or preserve the win. I have coached some of these kids for four years and couldn’t be prouder.”
In the District 16 Little League Tri-Cities Minors title game at Babe Herman Field, the Burbank Cardinals routed Foothill 7-1 as Eric Serna scored two runs, while Jorge Gutierrez, the winning pitcher, crossed the plate three times. Also scoring for the Cardinals were Joseph Estrada and Luis Mendez.
Gutierrez was a terror at the plate as he doubled twice and tripled. On the mound, he was just as dominating with 12 strikeouts to his credit.
The Cardinals (21-2) took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, then added two runs in the third and two more in the fourth before Josh Malone scored Foothill’s lone run in the bottom of the fourth.
With the Cardinals winning the Tri-Cities Minors Championship, the Burbank Little League has now won back-to-back championships in the minors division (8, 9 and 10 year olds).