By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
With the count at one and two and two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Burroughs’ ace Cole Meyer shook off not one, not two, not even three, four or five but six pitches from battery mate Roy Hirota.
“He wanted the fastball but the slider was working for me all night. No one was hitting it,” Meyer said. “I wanted the slider, outside, perfect and that was it.”
On lucky number seven, Meyer nodded his head and fired his wicked slider that struck out Burbank’s Chandler Robbins to end the game. It was a virtuoso performance that would have made Rembrandt proud.
In front of a large crowd at Tomahawk Field, Meyer was simply dazzling on the mound as he led Burroughs to a 1-0 victory against Burbank on Senior Night.
Burroughs improved to 10-9 on the season and 4-4 in the Pacific League. Burbank fell to 5-12 and 2-6.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I literally felt like I won the World Series,” said Meyer. “This is only a high school game and it’s only one win. But it felt so great.”
The right-handed submarine pitcher retired 19 out of the last 20 batters he faced en route to a complete game victory. He fired a two-hitter (both of which came in the first inning), struck out eight and walked only one.
In his last two games versus first-place Pasadena and rival Burbank, he has allowed only one run in 14 and 2/3rd innings with 17 strikeouts and three walks.
“That’s what he is capable of doing,” Burroughs pitching coach Tony Sandoval said. “Day in and day out he comes out here and battles. He’s a competitor.”
Overshadowed in the loss but surely not forgotten was the fine effort from Burbank starting pitcher, Randy Higgens. The junior threw five innings and gave up no earned runs on three hits, walking none and fanning three batters.
“He was solid and it was probably his best performance of the year,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said. “He commanded the zone. He was able to throw off-speed when he wanted to. I thought he did a great job.”
Higgens started slow in the first inning hitting the leadoff batter, Anthony Bocanegra, and then giving up a double to Cameron Rodriguez. With runners at second and third, an error on Burbank shortstop Cameron Briggs brought home Bocanegra for what proved to be the game’s only run.
“I was nervous for the first couple innings. Around the third inning I settled down and enjoyed myself,” said Higgens, who also singled for Burbank along with Cameron Briggs. “I prepared well. I tried to keep them off balance all game.”
Aside from Rodriguez, singles by Max DeAmicis in the fourth and Anthony Robles in the fifth were the only Indian batters who got to Higgens. Otherwise, he was flawless and matched Meyer pitch for pitch tossing zeroes on the scoreboard with the exception of the first inning.
“Randy Higgins is a remarkable pitcher who I have a lot of respect for,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “But I’m sure happy to have Cole Meyer as my pitcher.”
After winning a league title as an assistant coach at Burbank last year, Sherwood became head coach at his alma mater early in the fall. Not soon after meeting his team he discovered Meyer who moved from Las Vegas to Burbank.
Talk about hitting the jackpot. Meyer has a 0.93 era in league and 1.37 era for the season.
“The toughest thing I did today was to make sure I spelled his name right on the lineup card,” Sherwood quipped after the game.
Across town, the hitting woes continue for the youthful Bulldogs. Only two hitters on the roster are batting above .300.
“We are capable of doing a lot better. We are just in a slump right now,” Higgens said.
“I’m the eternal optimist. I try to keep them moving in the right direction,” Hart added. “It’s easy to get down but there isn’t a lot of value in it. We just try to keep them up and move on to the next day.”
The Indians are currently in fourth place two games ahead of Burbank and a game ahead of Hoover and Glendale. The top four teams in league receive an automatic berth into the CIF playoffs.
Though there wasn’t much offense in the game, both teams displayed great pitching, solid defense and a competitive drive. For Sherwood, he got to see a glimpse of the past and a glance into the future.
“Burbank is a quality ball club. They are coached very well. Those kids who have won in the past know how to win,” he said. “Our kids are learning how to win and learning how to play hard. Tonight they were sharp, focused and engaged. We have 24 players and they played as one.”