By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
A banner season for Burroughs, in the figurative and literal sense, culminated in the selection of six Indians being recognized as All-League honorees. Seton Hall-commit Thomas Wilson was chosen as the Pacific League Player of the Year after dominating the opposition on the hill.
Fellow pitching standout Danny Bustos and shortstop Ryan Galan were named to the first team; outfielders Max DeAmicis and Anthony Bocanegra were second-team recipients; and first baseman Chris Peres earned honorable mention. Each was a senior on the team.
Burroughs had a season for the ages going 24-5 overall and winning its first Pacific League title ever (13-1) and the first league title of any kind since the old Foothill days in 1997. The Indians accomplished many goals including sweeping Crescenta Valley, taking three out of five in the opening Easton Tournament and winning the Coach Bob National Invitational Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona with an unblemished 5-0 record.
The 24 wins are a school-record. The Indians lost in the second round of the CIF Division 2 playoffs and were unable to match the 1998 squad that advanced to the CIF quarterfinals, the farthest a Burroughs team has ever gone.
Wilson and Bustos were two dominant pitchers who both deserved the league’s top honor. Wilson earned the title of POY because of his two wins versus CV and against their ace pitcher, Brian Gadsby. Wilson finished 9-0 overall with a mind-boggling 0.57 earned run average (five earned runs allowed in 61 innings). In league, he went 5-0 with a 0.82 era.
Bustos went 9-2 overall with a 0.96 era in 80 innings pitched including a 5-0 mark in league with an astounding 0.31 era (two earned runs in 45 innings).
The pitching duo led a staff that had a season era of 1.62 overall and 1.06 in the Pacific League.
While the pitching was the backbone to success for JBHS, no one represented the team’s drive for excellence more than Galan. By far the most improved player on the team with his ability to hit consistently to all parts of the field or playing solid defense at shortstop, Galan was selected by his peers as the team’s best hitter. No greater honor than to have your peers support.
Galan batted .316 with 20 runs scored and eight RBIs overall. In league, he hit .378 with team-highs of 17 hits and 12 runs scored. As the team’s number two batter in the lineup, Galan led the Indians with seven sacrifice bunts.
DeAmicis (.351 average in league, 13 RBIs, six doubles), Bocanegra (.333 avg.) and Peres (.400 avg.) rounded out the All-League members for Burroughs.
“This team, these players went far beyond my expectations. They grew as young men. Our pitching and defense were as good as I have ever seen,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “Not only did we set a record for wins in a season but this team should go down as the best team in Burroughs history.”
Burroughs started nine seniors throughout the season. With plenty of talent returning and more coming up from the lower levels as well as a grizzly veteran coach leading the way, the Indians might be on top for a while in the Pacific League.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs were first-team selections Randy Higgens and Cameron Briggs. Burbank (12-12, 7-7) finished in fourth place and advanced to the first round of the CIF Division 2 playoffs.
Higgens, a third baseman, hit .428 with an on-base percentage of .500, slugging percentage of 667, and OPS of .1167. He along with Ryan Porras were the catalysts of the team this year on the hill as well as with the bat. Porras batted .500 with an on-base percentage of .458 and was a second-team all-league selection.
Briggs batted .350 with an OPS of .801. The UC Davis-commit was reliable at shortstop and served as the team’s closer as well.
Centerfielder Alex Minnick hit .396 and was named honorable mention. All of the above players were seniors for the Bulldogs.
Sherwood was named the Coach of the Year in the Pacific League. In 2013 when Burbank tied for the league title for the first time in 22 years, Burbank coach Bob Hart should have been named the Coach of the Year but wasn’t. To this day that is the biggest farce among the coaches in the Pacific League.
Sherwood and Hart are two of the finest coaches around. Both should be recognized for their achievements at both schools. The same can be said of their softball peers- Burroughs’ Doug Nicol and Burbank’s Mike Delaney. It’s time for the parents to back off and let the coaches coach and the players play. Each coach mentioned above have proven their worth.