As expected, runs and hits were scarce when Burroughs High and Harvard-Westlake faced off in the championship game of the 12th Annual Easton Tournament held at Birmingham High on Wednesday night.
It was indeed as the Indians edged the Wolverines, 1-0, with the only run tallied coming with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning when Jason Whaley’s base hit brought in pinch-runner Gabriel Pellot, who came in for Omar Tejeda, who opened the frame with a double.
“I expected Harvard-Westlake [4-1] to play a tremendous game in the Easton Tournament, which is the best tournament in Southern California,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “They have a great program. Nobody expected us to be here. We were playing with house money.”
Front and center was pitcher Kyle Nicol, who allowed only two hits over seven innings. Nicol struck out 14 and delivered first-pitch strikes to 19 hitters.
“I don’t think you’re going to see a better performance than the one turned in by Kyle,” Sherwood said. “That was something special.”
Only 5-8 and with a submarine delivery, Nicol had the highly-ranked Wolverines eating out of his hand.
“Just because he doesn’t throw in the 90s doesn’t mean he can’t be effective and get hitters out,” Sherwood said. “Any college coach that isn’t calling him in the next 48 hours is making a big mistake.”
Sherwood went on: “He can pitch. He has great command and he kept them [Harvard-Westlake] off balance.”
The Indians have yet to lose this season and are the defending Pacific League champion.
So far Burroughs has knocked off Palmdale 3-2, West Ranch 8-0, Chatsworth 8-7 and Moorpark 3-2.
“Our goal is to repeat as league champs,” Sherwood said. “The kids believe. Only good things can happen when you believe. We’ve said, why not us?”
Sherwood added: “My philosophy is play catch. Throw strikes and play good defense. But this is nothing I’ve done. It’s what the kids have done. This about the players.”
Burroughs (5-0), which was coming off a dramatic seventh inning one-run victory over the Musketeers on Saturday, also received hits from Tanner Whitlock and Justin Palafox, who had the game-winner versus Moorpark in the Easton tourney semifinal.
“Tanner [the catcher] called a great game,” Sherwood said. “He was locked in. I just let the kids play.”
Harvard-Westlake came in with wins over Poly 10-0, Newbury Park 7-0, Simi Valley 8-4 and El Camino Real 3-1 in the Easton Tournament semifinals.