Burroughs, Burbank, Providence Baseball Hoping For Glory

The Bears, Bulldogs and Pioneers are banking on enough talent and lots of desire.

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Burroughs senior Sebastian Zamora will be a key and Burbank along with Providence also look to compete. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By Rick Assad

For Burroughs High, Burbank and Providence, all three baseball teams are in the same boat and that’s faring well in their nonleague schedule, doing well in their respective leagues and having a significant run in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

The Bears are coming off an historic season in which they won the Division V championship behind the arm of Gunnar Nichols, who is a freshman pitcher at Pepperdine and the steady leadership of Mason Medina and Andrew Chapman, both having graduated.

Because of that unprecedented success, the Bears, who were 23-11 and 11-3 in the Pacific League, were moved to Division II, but it’s something Matt Magallon, the coach, looks forward to.

“Being placed in Division II reaffirms the growth of the program and the development of players,” he said. “Since coming to the league four years ago, we have sent more players to four-year colleges to play at the next level. The program keeps growing and keeps getting better. We will continue to send players to the next level and make sure that they are prepared for that level.”

And with the move to a higher level, more is going to be expected.

“I also understand that we are the first team in 22 years to jump three divisions in a year,” he said. “I understand that Division II is a challenge, but I have never backed down from a challenge in my life and I’m not going to start now.”

Magallon is also confident in his ability to coach and teach his players what it takes to reach the top.

Senior pitcher Jimmy Cafferty is going to be the Bulldogs’ ace on the hill. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Will it be tough? Without a doubt. Iron sharpens iron and I truly feel that the next couple of years our players will understand the Division II landscape and what needs to be done to add another championship for our program,” he said.

Burroughs should have another outstanding campaign and will be led by several seniors.

They include outfielder Jarell Bijasa, shortstop Steve Suarez, outfielder Sebastian Zamora and pitcher Zack Freck.

Another senior hurler, Nick Forrest, underwent right shoulder surgery in January and it’s unlikely he pitches this season.

Junior second baseman Nate Chapman was also an integral part of the squad a season ago and will be asked for even more this campaign.

“We are excited about this season and know this is a big year for the program and the young guys that are in varsity,” Magallon said. “We are really young this year after losing 12 seniors, but the team we have is really talented and the growth and development from this year is key.”

The league is going to be a weekly battle, but Magallon likes it that way.

“Our league is stronger than it has been in the past,” he said. “The league is very competitive this year. I am excited to be a part of it and we will see how things shake up.”

Magallon then gave a rundown of what he expected.

“Arcadia is still the top of the mountain and Coach Lemus does such a great job with those guys. It’s going to be a dog fight this year but I’m excited to see them,” he said. “Crescenta Valley will be another tough test for us with a majority of their players coming back from last year’s team. Coach [Phil] Torres is a staple of the league, and his teams are always prepared. I also think that Glendale will be really tough this year. They are all seniors and have a lot of talent. Coach [Frank] Taormina took over this year and knowing him for as I have, I know that he will build that program into a league contender.”

Burroughs coach Matt Magallon, whose team won the CIF Southern Section Division V championships last year, likes to play aggressive. as shown in a recent game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The rest of the team include a number of juniors and they are outfielder Mason Mahay, utility Dylan Conahan/third baseman, middle infielder Tommy Vournas and outfielder Wyatt Augenstein.

The remaining players are senior first baseman Roberto Castaneda, junior first baseman/third baseman/shortstop Chris Perez, junior pitcher Nick Fritz, junior pitcher Elvis Moreno, outfielder Brian Martinez, sophomore first baseman/pitcher Lukas Beltran, sophomore outfielder/pitcher Kenny Montgomery, pitcher Jack Harkin and sophomore catcher Kyle Smith.

The Bulldogs, who carved out a 15-9 overall mark and 10-4 in league, are going to be paced by several outstanding players and they include a number of seniors.

Bob Hart, the longtime coach, thinks the team will have a productive campaign.

“We are definitely looking forward to the season,” he said. “We have a very coachable group of guys who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. When you have guys that are willing to have a team about it as opposed to individuals about it makes a world of difference. Hopefully that will continue for us.”

They include pitcher/first baseman/outfielder Jimmy Cafferty, first baseman/outfielder/pitcher Daniel Edwards, center fielder/outfielder Julian Gonzalez, shortstop/second baseman/pitcher Danny Betancourt, third baseman/infielder/pitcher Ben Castillo and first baseman/third baseman/left fielder Joe Maslyk.

“We expect Jimmy Cafferty to be our leader on the hill as an All-Pacific League returner,” said Hart of his ace.

The rest of the squad includes senior second baseman/shortstop/outfielder Adan Da Paz, senior outfielder/utility Kainan Kouri, senior outfielder Dylan Kramer, senior outfielder Ethan Lara, senior outfielder/pitcher Matthew Schwartz, junior shortstop/outfielder/catcher Bryant Johnson, junior second baseman/outfielder Ryan Sebastian and junior third baseman/catcher Miklo Reynoso.

There are three sophomores on the team, and they are catcher/pitcher/infielder Colby Bette, third baseman Jake Reyes and shortstop/first baseman/pitcher Robert Snyder.

“All of our players are more than capable of contributing,” Hart said. “It looks like a group overall that looks to provide an exciting year for us.”

The Pioneers are looking to rebound after a 10-15 record and 2-10 in the Prep League under Mando Contreras, the coach, who is also going to have a solid club.

They have four seniors, and they are left fielder/utility Connor Cafferty, infielder/pitcher Ian Didszun, catcher/first baseman/pitcher Matthew Dorfman and second baseman/third baseman/center field Saxon Bilodeaux.

The Pioneers include five juniors, and they are catcher/third baseman/pitcher Sutton Frost, second baseman/pitcher/utility Andrew Malong, outfielder/pitcher Nikoli Ocampo, outfielder/designated hitter Garrett Barnes and outfielder Jason Chavez.

Providence boasts three sophomores, and they are left fielder/designated hitter Eric Flores, shortstop/pitcher/utility Adrian Contreras, Eric Chuchvara and pitcher Caden Sanrow.

Three freshmen are on the team, and they are outfielder Luc Rode, utility Nicholas Delger and utility Asa Langlois.