By Rick Assad
For seven glorious innings, it was a scoreless deadlock between Burroughs High and Pasadena in a Pacific League baseball game at Tomahawk Field on Friday night.
In the top of the eighth, the Bulldogs sent seven batters to the plate and picked up five hits and three runners scored which helped the visitors to a 3-0 decision.
In the bottom half of the frame, junior Steven Suarez led off by drawing a walk.
Senior Andrew Chapman then lifted a fly ball to center field and sophomore Nate Chapman sent a fly to right field.
Senior Bailey Ewan, who collected two of the three hits by the Bears, then lined a two-out base hit to left field, which moved Suarez to second base, but senior Mason Medina hit a fly to right field that ended the game.
The decisive inning frame began innocently enough as senior Ray Armas grounded out to second base.
Senior Evan Coad singled to left field and senior Jabbari Salahuddin drilled a ball to center field, moving Coad to second base.
Senior Casey Skett’s infield hit then scored a run to make it 1-0 and senior Justin Goldman’s single to left center plated two more runners for a 3-0 edge.
Junior Nick Forrest went to the mound for his first start of the season and looked sharp for six and two-third innings, striking out 13 and allowing four hits.
“Nick pitched a great game, but I took him out because I didn’t want him to get to the pitch limit,” Burroughs coach Matt Magallon said of his hurler who had thrown 100 pitches with the maximum being 105 pitches.
Junior Sebastian Zamora took the loss after working one and one-third frames. Zamora surrendered five hits and fanned one.
“We only gave up three runs. When you give up three runs, you should win,” Magallon said. “We didn’t. But you have to give it up to Pasadena. They played well.”
Senior Ben Griffith went seven effective innings for the Bulldogs (4-12 and 1-5 in league), allowing two hits with four strikeouts and two walks with one hit batter and collected the victory.
Junior Miguel Yepez was credited with the save after toiling one inning, yielding one hit and walking a batter.
It seemed that the Bears’ hitters were off balance, oftentimes hitting the ball in the air and into the ground, and rarely finding the gap.
“I think we had four quality at-bats all night,” Magallon said. “We just missed getting hits. Sometimes an inch can mean a base hit and an out. But that’s baseball.”
Forrest didn’t back down and went toe-to-toe with Griffith, who likely pitched his best game all season for the Bulldogs, who three days earlier lost 9-3 to the Bears.
Griffith retired the side in order in the first, second and third innings, and then collected the first two outs in the fourth before Ewan lashed a single to right field. An error by the fielder on the play allowed Ewan to move to second base.
A balk was called on Griffith as Ewan advanced to third base and Medina also walked. The frame came to an end when Zamora popped up to second base.
The Bears (9-6 and 5-1 in league) went down 1-2-3 in the fifth inning, but the sixth inning could have been productive as six hitters came to the plate.
Suarez began by hitting a fly ball to center field, but Andrew Chapman singled to center field. Chapman proceeded to steal second and third base.
Nate Chapman struck out for the second out, but Ewan was hit by Griffith’s pitch.
Medina was intentionally walked. When Zamora bounced into a force out, the threat was pushed aside.
In the first inning, Forrest fanned Coad swinging, but Salahuddin, who had three hits, was safe when he hit a ball off Forrest’s glove for an infield single.
Salahuddin swiped second base, but Skett struck out swinging and Goldman fanned looking.
Griffith bounced out to lead off the second inning and junior Joe Bacon was called out on strikes.
Senior Michael Duran reached base on an infield single but was erased trying to steal second base to end the stanza.
After allowing the first two batters to reach base in the third inning on an error and a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed, Forrest then fanned Coad and Salahuddin swinging and Skett looking.
Goldman struck out swinging to begin the fourth inning and Griffith popped up to Forrest for the second out.
Bacon then singled to center field but was out when he was picked at first base by the catcher.
Forrest faced four batters in the fifth inning and was able to retire Duran on a liner to left field. The next batter was safe on an error, but Forrest whiffed Armas swinging for the second out and saw Coad pop up to the mound.
Salahuddin opened the sixth by slashing a double to left field off Forrest, who then settled down and fanned Skett swinging. Pinch hitter senior James Lievense and Griffith both struck out swinging.
Forrest struck out Bacon swinging to commence the seventh inning and induced Duran to bounce to second base, before being lifted in favor of Zamora.