Burroughs Baseball Edges Glendale 5-4 In A Pacific League Classic

Jarell Bijasa scores the winning run from third base in the bottom of the seventh inning for a dramatic ending.

In a close game that Burroughs won 5-4 over Glendale, the team talks about strategy. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

By Rick Assad

Three days can seem like so long ago in baseball terms.

On Tuesday, the Burroughs High baseball team paid a visit to Glendale and blanked the Nitros 11-0 in a Pacific League game that was called because of the 10-run mercy rule.

On Friday night, the Bears squeaked out a 5-4 victory in the bottom of the seventh inning when senior Jarell Bijasa raced home on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.

Bijasa reached base on an infield hit and went to second base on a sacrifice bunt from senior Steve Suarez.

Junior Christian Perez, who doubled off the wall in the second, but didn’t score, was hit by a pitch and sophomore Kenny Montgomery was safe on a fielder’s choice, which loaded the bases and set up the dramatic ending with freshman Logan Drossin in the batter’s box.

“Going up to my at-bat, I was trying to find my focal point and I was blocking out the audience and I was just trying to put the ball in play because they tend to make errors when we put the ball in play,” Bijasa said. “On the bases, I was just seeing the ball down. Try to advance and at the end we ran a safety squeeze. When he was going through the windup, I was out further than usual and when I saw the ball down and the play at home, I just took my chances. Once I saw my opening, I thought I’d just go.”

Don’t use Glendale’s overall record or league mark as a judge as to whether they’re a good team or not.

Pitching was on display by both teams and especially the Bears. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

They’re much improved and on any given day or night, can cause even the best team to panic about the final outcome.

“I said in the seasonal pregame, this team is better. This team has been better every year,” Burroughs coach Matt Magallon said. “They have great coaches in Frank Taormina and Spiro Psaltis. We handled them extremely well on Tuesday and then came out here and it was a completely different ball game. My hats off to them.”

Magallon, who led his team to the CIF Southern Section Division V title in 2022, said his club wasn’t fazed in the seventh inning.

“We have a bunch of champions. We have guys that have been through the trenches,” he noted. “A 4-4 ballgame in the seventh doesn’t scare them. That’s what separated us in that moment. Jerry, who’s played and has a championship ring, he’s been there and when he gets up to the plate in the seventh, he’s ready to hit.”

The Bears (10-6 and 7-1 in league) scored two runs in the bottom of the first despite just one hit.

Junior Nate Chapman was hit by a pitch for the first of being hit three times, advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from junior Dylan Conahan, who singled in the sixth and didn’t score. Chapman took third on a wild pitch and scored on a stolen base.

The second run came when senior Sebastian Zamora walked, took second on a single by junior Mason Mahay went to third base on a force out and scored on a throwing error.

The Nitros evened it at 2-2 in the third inning as they collected five of their 12 hits.

After junior Austin Aldrete fanned to open the frame, Glendale delivered four straight hits including the first of four base hits from senior Frankie Malagon.

When junior Jason Martinez singled to right field it became 2-1 and after sophomore Joe Tapia (two hits) sliced a ball to left field, the game was knotted at 2-2.

Senior Zach Freck came in late and was credited with the win. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

The Bears wasted no time in pulling ahead in the bottom of the third as Mahay (two hits) was safe on a run-scoring infield hit as Chapman, who was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, came around and scored.

Suarez also had a run batted in single to center field that plated Mahay for a 4-2 edge.

The Nitros (6-13 and 2-6 in league) trimmed the lead to 4-3 in the fourth inning when Malagon belted a two-out double off the fence in center field and crossed the plate on an error.

Three innings later, Glendale tacked on a solo run as it sent seven batters to the plate including senior Javier Solis, who walked with the bases loaded by senior Zach Freck that made it 4-4.

Freck, who was credited with the win, was called in from the bullpen to relieve hard throwing sophomore, Lucas Beltran, who worked two and one-third innings, fanning five with one hit batter, one walk and three hits allowed, struck out senior Aaron Ruiz for the third out with the bases loaded.

Zamora was the starting hurler for the Bears and ventured three and two-third innings, yielding nine hits with six strikeouts.

Glendale senior Levi Valadez toured five innings, allowing four hits with two strikeouts, six walks and three hit batters.

Freshman Jeremy Furhman worked one and a third innings, surrendering two hits with a walk and a hit batter for the Nitros.

Senior Erik Chavez banged out two hits for Glendale as did senior Josh Hopkins.