By Rick Assad
There is an outside chance that the Burroughs High baseball team will participate in the upcoming CIF Southern Section playoffs after beating city rival Burbank 5-2 in a Pacific League contest at Tomahawk Field on Tuesday night.
With the stands filled to near capacity, the Indians scored a run in the first inning and four runs in the second.
“We’re playing for a playoff spot. We have to win to get in and we have to win on Friday or we’re out,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said.
That was all the scoring Burroughs (13-14 and 7-6 in league) would need as junior Nicco Chuidian went five innings, striking out two with three hits allowed.
“I thought Nicco did a great job to start the game,” Sherwood said. “He showed not only on the mound, but also at the plate what an elite player he is.”
Chuidian was mighty handy with the bat, collecting two hits and added a run batted in.
The Bulldogs (7-13 and 5-8 in league), who are out of the playoff hunt, scored two runs in the third inning as senior Abiezer Delgado’s base hit drove in both runs.
“Obviously you want to win games. That’s what we’re here to do, but at the same time you want to develop young men that you can be proud of,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said. “In that regard, I couldn’t be happier. They’re a great group of guys.”
Hart then added: “They’ve matured. They conduct themselves at a pretty high level,” he said. “They’re all good in the classroom. Most of them are going to college. You want to win games, but you want to develop young men. Ultimately that’s probably as big a goal for me as trophy hunting.”
Junior Matthew Porras went two and two-third innings with a strikeout, while junior Daniel Ruiz ventured three and one-third innings.
The Bulldogs, who were limited to three hits, will host the Indians on Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.
Chuidian cruised through the fourth inning when he retired freshman Ryan King and Ruiz on fly outs to right field and senior Max Meltzer on a pop up to third base.
Ruiz faced four batters in the bottom of the frame as junior Julian Jaramillo (two RBIs) and senior Matthew Diaz grounded out to shortstop.
Junior Collin Johnson, who walked three times, was aboard on a base on balls, but junior Andres Salazar flied out to center field.
The fifth inning began with Chuidian inducing senior Matt Moreno to fly out to left field while sophomore Oakley Spens grounded out to shortstop.
Junior Davis Mieliwocki then grounded out to sophomore shortstop Brian Garcia (two hits), who made a terrific stop and then gunned the ball to first base for the final out.
“It’s what we live for. I woke up thinking, Burbank game. We’re all ready for this,” Garcia said.
Garcia spoke about the two hits. “I’m really just looking for that one pitch,” he said. “Nothing high. Nothing low. You have to take advantage of it.”
Garcia said that he knows how important these games are. “We have to have the same mentality and the same approach,” he pointed out of Friday’s match. “Who ever wants it more will come out on top.”
Ruiz faced three batters in the fifth as senior Nathan Palafox lined out to center field.
Senior Revin Diego walked and senior Andrew Jacob Barrera lined out to left field, but Diego was caught stealing for the third out.
Senior Joe Metcalf was on the mound to begin the sixth for the Indians and walked junior Andrew De La Torre and Delgado.
In stepped junior Xavier Dubon in place of Metcalf and he fanned Porras for the first out.
“I think the relief job by Xavier, who came in with runners on first and second and nobody out with a three run lead and they didn’t score a run off him was one of the best relief jobs in years,” Sherwood said of his submarine specialist.
Dubon then induced King to reach on a force out, and fanned Ruiz for the last out.
“I was staying calm. Focus on just throwing strikes. Keeping it low. Get ground balls. I wasn’t trying to do anything special,” Dubon said of his outing. “I think it’s just the normal game. Come out here and just focus on you. Visualize it in your head and just do it. Believe in yourself.”
Six batters trotted to the plate in the home half of the sixth with senior Brandon Giraldo and Diaz reaching base on singles.
Salazar worked the final inning for the Indians and went 1-2-3 after Meltzer flied out to left field, Moreno grounded out to second base and Spens flied out to right field in foul territory.