When it comes to the preseason baseball schedule, Burroughs High Coach Craig Sherwood and Burbank skipper Bob Hart always prefer to play a tough schedule.
They say it better prepares their respective teams for the Pacific League grind which begins on March 29 when the Indians host Glendale and the Bulldogs face Arcadia on the road. Both games begin at 3:30 p.m.
Burroughs is the defending league champion and are 7-2 after a 7-0 start, while the Bulldogs have one victory in seven games.
Burbank had losses to Camarillo 5-2, Dos Pueblos 4-0, Newbury Park 4-0, Thousand Oaks 8-2, West Ranch 6-1 and Birmingham 3-2, before drilling the Brentwood School 14-5.
Part of the Indians’ winning streak included taking the prestigious Easton Tournament over Harvard-Westlake.
Burroughs began the season with a 3-2 triumph over Palmdale, then defeated West Ranch 8-0, Chatsworth 8-7, Moorpark 3-2, and Harvard-Westlake 1-0, before playing in the San Diego Lion’s tourney where they knocked off Roosevelt 2-0, and Mission Bay 8-3, before losing to Sweetwater 3-2 and McClatchy 2-0.
The Indians will host the Bulldogs on May 10, while Burroughs will visit Burbank on May 13.
A tried-and-true baseball philosophy is that pitching and defense go hand-in-hand, while hitting is fleeting.
“You need to be able to catch the ball and play defense,” said Sherwood, whose team fell to Moorpark in the CIF Southern Section playoffs in 2015. “Our goal every year is the same and that’s to win league.”
Kyle Nicol and Jesse Galindo are the Indians’ top hurlers, and both are off to solid starts.
The Indians will have Nathan Palafox at first base, Brandon Martinez at second base, Justin Palafox at shortstop, Omar Tejeda at third base and Tanner Whitlock at catcher.
In the outfield, Mitch Lefevre will toil in left field, Jason Whaley in center field and Randy Catlett in right field. Riley Hooper will be used as the main designated hitter.
The rest of the squad includes Matthew Rudas, Noah Laborico, Joey Kuhn, Jared Whaley, Erik Gonzalez, Henrik Buchanan, Jonathan Max, Shaine Leonard, Nick Ziegler and Gabriel Pellot.
Hart also feels his team is ready to make a run at the league banner after making the playoffs five of nine years.
“Our primary goal every year is to win the league title,” he said. “I’m optimistic. We’ve played a tough nonleague schedule and that’s going to prepare us well for league.”
Burbank, which was under .500 overall a season ago and made the postseason, will use four pitchers and they include Garret Dolan, Henry Leake, Colby Vosgien and Matt Lungaro.
The Bulldogs’ infield consists of Danny Porras at first base, Kyle Tanner and Johnathan Casteneda at second base, Adrian Johnson at shortstop, Leake and Fisher Cabot at third base and Matt Shaugabay behind the plate.
Chris Minnick and Branden Philips will be in left field, Forest Fajardo and Andy Reyes in center field and Jeremy Chong in right field, while Everett Fair will be the primary designated hitter.
“I like to be flexible when it comes to the lineup and I think I have a lot of flexibility,” Hart said. “I have a lot of really good players that I can put out there and feel as though they’re going to play well.”
The other players include Abiezer Delgado, Ben Crosby, Christian Guerra, Ethan Yang, Frank Yokas, Jake Kelley, Jake Zedlar, Nick Alfonso, Owen Ruiz, Raul Sarabia, Tim Hibbard and Javier Reyes.