Tag Archives: Burbank High

Caitlyn Brooks, Notre Dame Graduate, Caps College Career In Style

By Rick Assad

 

There are certain qualities or assets that one needs in order to be successful in life and in sports.

In the case of athletics, physical and mental gifts are essential and they go a long way. But even if one possesses these attributes, it’s also helpful, and perhaps necessary, to put in the time and hard work in order to get better.

For Caitlyn Brooks, who played four seasons on the University of Notre Dame women’s softball team and before that was a highly-decorated standout on the Burbank High softball squad, had all three in her tool box, but like the very best, always wanted to improve.

Caitlyn Brooks swinging from her heels. The former Burbank High star hit 48 homers over her career at Notre Dame. It’s tied for the second-most all-time.

“Caitlyn put in a lot of hard work other than just normal practices,” said Mike Delaney, who was the Bulldogs softball coach who oversaw Brooks during her tenure at Burbank which began in 2012 and ended in 2015. “Extra hitting lessons and pitching lessons weekly.”

Delaney, who recently stepped down from that post, added: “She had a great work ethic and was always quick to praise her teammates,” he said. “She loved the individual matchups. Pitcher versus pitcher. Pitcher versus batter. Caitlyn understood her swing and pitching motion extremely well.”

There is a small percentage of people talented enough to play sports for the Fighting Irish. What was that experience like?

“Being at Notre Dame exceeded my expectations for sure,” said Brooks, who capped off her college career by being named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2019 after breaking the school’s single-season home run record with 20 and leading the team in five offensive categories. “It is such a magical place and I really started to understand and experience that throughout my four years.”

Brooks was also an effective pitcher for the Fighting Irish and before that a stellar hurler for the Bulldogs, where she went 80-17 over a four-year career.

Getting selected ACC Player of the Year had to be an unexpected surprise for Brooks.

“Being named ACC Player of the Year was a total shock to me,” said Brooks, who was also named to the ACC All-Academic team. “I never look at stats and this year I knew I was doing well, but that wasn’t anything I thought that I would achieve. Earning that title was really cool and I remember calling my parents [Shari and Roger] and we all were so excited and cheering. It was also really cool to see all of my teammates excel too and also support me. They are what made it special because this team was so amazing and special.”

How difficult was college compared to high school, both scholastically and athletically? “The hardest part of transitioning was the academics,” said Brooks, who received a bachelor of arts degree in film/cinema and video studies and will work in social media marketing. “For me that was the hardest part of Notre Dame. Softball was the most consistent and smoothest transition.”

What was it like for Brooks, who carved out a staggering 80-17 record with 1,011 strikeouts as a high school hurler, to actually put on the spikes for Notre Dame?

Brooks was selected Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2019 after leading Notre Dame in homers with 20, the most in a single season.

“I was definitely nervous my first time putting on the Irish uniform, but I wanted to compete and that was really exhilarating,” she said. “Once I got my first hit, I felt completely comfortable.”

Brooks said she was at ease from the outset. “Our team is like a family and that starts from the moment you’re introduced when you’re a recruit,” she noted. “I always knew Notre Dame was for me because of the team culture which is cultivated by our amazing coaches. From the moment you first speak to them, you know that they are great coaches and even better people. I felt part of the Irish team as a recruit and from the moment I stepped on campus as a freshman.”

This feeling of security and care begins with Deanna Gumpf, the Notre Dame head coach.

“She is so inspiring and is like a second mom to us all,” said Brooks, who paced the Fighting Irish in homers with nine and runs batted in with 38 as a junior. “I love how direct and passionate she is. She truly wants to see us succeed on and off the field. Notre Dame develops us into great athletes and even better women and that starts at the top by always being an example of excellence and kindness. Coach Gumpf knows us better than we know ourselves sometimes and that is what makes her such an incredible coach and person. She is definitely a role model for me.”

Brooks was a threat in the batter’s box and in the pitcher’s circle at the high school and collegiate level. Which one was more appealing?

“For sure the batter’s box. Being in the box I can fully relax and be laser focused, but have no pressure,” Brooks said. “Or at least I tell myself that there is no pressure. I also know that the girl behind me is going to get it done and having that confidence and support takes all of the pressure off. I found my stride in the box and really loved softball and the game.”

Brooks ended her college career tied for second place all-time with 48 home runs. “Most of it was from this year,” said Brooks of her senior season. “I wasn’t trying to hit the ball out, but I was really focused on my timing, pitch selection and mechanics this season and I had a great result.”

There was a lot of celebrating when Brooks was at the plate. Here Brooks (No. 16) crosses the plate and is congratulated by teammates.

Brooks, who clubbed 21 homers during her final three seasons as a Bulldog, then added: “When it came to pitching, I definitely put too much pressure on myself, but I loved competing. I think my role as a reliever and just come in and do my job on the mound took the pressure off and really let me focus on hitting during the game,” she said.

Brooks said her approach to hitting was vastly different from pitching.

“My main thoughts were to focus on my breath and my approach,” she said. “I watch a lot of film before a game on the pitcher and saw what they threw and adjusted my plan to the pitcher and my strength. Usually I was looking inside and attacking that pitch if it was a strike. In the circle, I would just focus on my routine and breath. I would visualize the pitch when I got my sign and go for it.”

Brooks, who batted .304 with eight homers and 39 RBIs as a sophomore, said even if the team struggled, which was rare, they were always unified.

“I really relied on my teammates and talking it out with the sports psychologist. A lot of athletes benefit from the sports psychologist and it was a resource that is always very encouraged,” Brooks said. “It really helped me with the challenges of softball and life.”

Did one hit or game stand out for Brooks, who batted .335 with a .416 on-base percentage and 55 RBIs, the most-ever by a Notre Dame freshman?

“I think the game that I broke the single-season home run record was huge,” said Brooks, who bashed a team-high 11 homers with a team-best .639 slugging percentage as a freshman. “It was against Pittsburgh, and when I broke the record it was my first collegiate grand slam which was super cool. It also could be the farthest ball that I’ve ever hit.”

Brooks continued: “After that game they gave my mom the ball and having her and my dad there to see it was awesome,” he pointed out. “My team was so pumped for me and seeing them at home plate going crazy is something that I will never forget.”

Did Brooks have targets she wanted to reach? “I set goals with myself and our coaches,” she said. “My plan had more to do with my approaches and learning from the previous year. For pitching, it was understanding my role and really capitalizing when I was called upon. Being that consistent force to get us out of a jam and always be ready. For hitting, my approach was about attacking the first two strikes. Once I started doing that I noticed a massive difference in my swing.”

Because of their lofty status, youngsters often look up to athletes. There may be local girls who admire Brooks, who posted an 18-5 mark, with a 0.66 earned-run average, 264 strikeouts, 18 walks in 149 and one-third innings as a high school senior, and would like to emulate her. Does Brooks have any advice?

“I would say that you should get the best grades that you can because grades get you into any school you want and you can always try out,” she said. “I would also say to go to camps and get on the best travel team that you can. If you get great grades and compete at the highest level, with the best competition, then you are marketing yourself in the best way that you can.”

Delaney thinks that Brooks is an inspiration to young girls who want to play softball, even if they don’t play for Notre Dame.

“Caitlyn is a great example for younger athletes in Burbank,” he said. “She was a great student and a great athlete.”

Looking back and reflecting on her college career at Notre Dame, Brooks is extremely thankful for the opportunity and wouldn’t do anything differently.

“So far there isn’t anything I regret during my four years,” she said. “I did more than I expected to academically and athletically.”

Melissa Sanchez Chosen As Next Burbank Softball Coach

By Rick Assad

 

Melissa Sanchez has been named as the next Burbank High girls’ softball coach.

Sanchez replaces Mike Delaney, a longtime softball coach in Southern California, who recently stepped down from the position.

For Sanchez, it’s a homecoming of sorts after playing for the Bulldogs and now stepping in as coach.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity,” said Sanchez, who played for East Los Angeles College and then won a scholarship to Cal State University East Bay where she played center field. “I can’t wait to start. This is not a hobby. It’s a full-time job and I’m going to give 110 percent.”

Melissa Sanchez will lead the Burbank softball team. (Photo credit Melissa Sanchez)

At this point, Sanchez, who has been a travel ball coach, is just getting her feet wet, but thinks the future is going to be bright for the Bulldogs.

Under Delaney, the Bulldogs were usually in the top half of the Pacific League standings and more often than not advanced to the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

This is Sanchez’s first head coaching job, but played for Burbank beginning with her freshman season in 2006 and capping it off in 2009 when she graduated.

“My values and philosophy are to push the girls hard in order to be the best players that they can be. They will be confident and will have a winning mentality.”

Sanchez they added: “There’s going to be structure during practice and it’s going to be regimented. I’m going to develop the girls. It begins at the junior varsity level. That’s why you need a good JV coach in order to bring along the young ones.”

Sanchez was asked what’s the main difference between coaching travel ball and high school.

“The difference in travel ball is you can pick and choose the players,” she said. “In high school, you get what you get. But on the softball field, I control the energy level.”

Sanchez said loyalty is a key. “I think it’s important to learn loyalty,” she said. “Loyalty to the program is important. To make that commitment. I’m from Burbank. I want to build the program.”

Sanchez continied: “I know that it takes time to build that trust. But as long as I’m prepared, I think that I’m going to build a solid program that’s going to be good. I want to show that they made the right choice in hiring me.”

Sanchez believes it’s the coaches responsibility to get the team pulling in one direction, as Tom Lasorda, former Dodger and Hall of Fame manager famously once said.

“It’s the coaches job to motivate the girls to play,” she noted. “To explain why it’s important to work hard, to be excited and want to go to practice.”

In Sanchez’s system, everyone on the team will contribute, and that includes the substitutes. “The bench will have a big role,” she explained. “It’s going to be a positive environment.”

James Williams Inaugural Football Camp Is Success

By Rick Assad

 

Football is a very physical game that requires not only brute strength, but also uncommon speed.

There are two types of speed. Straightaway or vertical that wide receivers, free safeties and cornerbacks have and quick bursts that also sometimes demand a change of direction that elite running backs possess.

James Williams, the best tailback in Burbank High’s long football history, had the latter and it was on display during a standout three-year career for the Bulldogs.

James Williams, a former Burbank High tailback and onetime Washington State standout, talks to the campers. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In his junior season, Williams ran for 1,469 yards in 164 carries and set a school record with 22 touchdowns.

For good measure, Williams added 482 yards on 22 receptions with five scores.

Williams helped Burbank finish 10-3 overall and advance to the CIF Southern Section semifinals in the Southeast Division playoffs that campaign.

The ability to change direction on a dime was also evident when Williams, who redshirted as a freshman, played in the Washington State University backfield for three seasons.

For the 11 eager boys ages six through 16 at the first day of the three-day inaugural James Williams Football Camp at Kemp-Kallem Field on Tuesday, they learned how to explode off the ball and change direction.

Williams, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in late April, but was ultimately released, said it’s one of the most important things anyone who wants to play football can learn.

James Williams instructing young campers on the finer points of football. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I went there for a month,” said Williams of the Chiefs camp. “I was hurt the first three weeks. I pulled my hamstring. The playbook was crazy. But I was getting it. Everybody had the playbook a week before I did. I made the most of it.”

Williams, who is also expecting a baby, said there’s a possibility the Arizona Cardinals or Tampa Bay Buccaneers may call, but if they don’t, he has no regrets.

“I want to keep my options open. I want to finish school. I can’t look back,” he said.

Williams, who was a two-time All-CIF Southeast Division first-team pick, said that when he went to summer football camp, he felt somewhat out of place and a little bit lost because he didn’t know what to expect.

The youngsters are eager to learn about football, especially when it comes from James Williams. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The reason why I wanted to do it [his camp], I was sitting back and I was thinking about when I was a camper and I didn’t know a lot of the fancy things they were doing at the Notre Dame and Crespi Camp,” Williams said. “I was in the back of the line just trying to figure out what they were doing. I want to do a condensed version of the drills that I did in college and the league.”

Burbank coach Adam Colman, who played quarterback at Burbank, helped out during the day’s activities which began at 11 a.m.

“When James reached out about doing a camp, it was an awesome opportunity for the city and the kids especially,” Colman said. “Growing up here, there’s always a couple of camps here and there, but they’re usually parks and rec camps. And now you get a guy like James, who played at the highest level and has those experiences and someone all the kids look up to.”

James Williams hopes to continue his dream of playing in the NFL despite being released by the Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Colman continued: “He wanted to make sure to make it happen for them. To see the guys who came up from Burbank and represent the city and being really proud of being from Burbank and going to Burbank schools,” he said. “It’s not every day you get a guy who played at the college level and the pro level and pass on their knowledge and hope it trickles down.”

The three-hour camp commenced with the boys stretching and exercising for 25 minutes.

Williams, who came to Burbank from Toledo, Ohio, finished with 3,090 all-purpose yards for the Cougars, wants to give back and hopes to make his camp and annual event.

“My time here, it was amazing,” he said. “Burbank gave me a lot. So that’s why I’m doing this right now. They treated me like I belonged here. The same with Washington State. They treated me like I was already at home.”

Running drills and sprint drills were next on the agenda. Then four half-rounds were laid out on the field, one yard apart and were used for agility drills.

One of several water breaks followed before the youngsters faced their next challenge.

There were three cones set apart three yards. Williams, who ran for 1,443 yards with 17 touchdowns and tacked on 101 yards on 11 catches as a sophomore at Burbank and was tabbed the Pacific League Offensive Player of the Year, would then yell out a number which corresponded to the shortest distance, the middle distance and the longest distance.

For instance, Williams would say 3, 5 and 7. That meant they would run to the shortest distance and back. The middle distance and back and finally the longest distance and back.

Williams, who had 27 career touchdowns at Washington State, the fourth-most, would then change the numbers to make sure they knew which to run to.

For this drill, Williams said the key to doing it well and for maximum speed is to keep as low to the ground as possible.

The next assignment was to move between an obstacle with the football as they zig-zaged back and forth and then run toward a cone about 10 yards down the field. Again, this would help them with change of direction.

What followed next was one offensive lineman trying to hold off an oncoming defensive lineman who tried to get around his man and knock the football that was atop a tackling dummy.

The final event was a game between three receivers versus three defenders with Williams, who capped his time at Washington State with 1,583 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns along with 202 catches for 1,437 receiving yards and eight scores, dropping back and finding an open receiver. The ball moved down the field and eventually into the end zone.

Mike Delaney, Burbank Softball Coach, Resigns Position

By Rick Assad

 

Upon initial inspection, it appears that being a high school softball coach is a pretty easy job.

You simply gather your players for a pregame drill and then the team plays a game. Then you conduct another pregame drill and play another game. Add a few more practices and that’s it.

But in reality, it’s far more complicated and nuanced than that and it’s also very time consuming.

For Mike Delaney, the longtime Burbank High skipper, the job simply demanded too much of his time on and off the field. On Monday, he stepped down from the position.

Mike Delaney stepped down as Burbank High’s softball coach. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I had been mulling this over for a couple of months,” Delaney said of resigning. “I made up my mind two or three weeks ago.”

Delaney informed Burbank principal, Dr. Michael Bertram of his decision a while ago and said he had the full support of Bertram and the entire athletic department staff during his tenure on the clock.

Delaney then added: “It’s been a really time consuming job,” he said after serving as the head coach for six years.

Delaney gathered the team on Monday before exit meetings and told them he would not be back next season.

This is the letter Delaney sent to the players’ parents.

“There are a few reasons that I made this decision. First and foremost the position of head coach had become extremely time consuming off the field,” he wrote. “Resolving and or mediating conflict between boosters and parents regarding fundraising became an almost nightly occurrence with either phone calls, texts or emails.”

The letter continued: “This along with [the] district’s inability to resolve the majority of our [Title IX] concerns, and my concern that neither could be resolved quickly or without a bigger off field time commitment from me were major factors in my decision,” it read. “I could no longer rationalize the amount of time I was taking away from my family.”

Burbank finished 11-13-1 overall this campaign and went 8-6 for fourth place in the Pacific League.

In a CIF Southern Section first-round playoff match on the road, the Bulldogs lost to Pomona Catholic 10-2.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time with each and every team,” Delaney said. “But the job took up too much of my time.”

On most weeks, Delaney and his staff put in no less than 15 hours and as many as 18 hours.

“Now softball is practically a year-round sport,” he pointed out. “It begins in August and runs until the end of the year. When I first started, it began in January and went until the end of the year.”

If one considers travel ball, softball is indeed a year-long sport, but Delaney wasn’t a travel-ball coach.

One point, of the eight league schools, only Burbank and Burroughs don’t have an on-campus softball field and a batting cage.

Still, the Bulldogs were successful despite this under Delaney, making the postseason five of the six seasons.

Delaney, who also coached at Village Christian for nine years, said that core values are an essential lesson the girls will take with them.

“Every year is different and every year is a challenge,” he said. “Teaching the core values was important from the time they were freshmen.”

Delaney added: “I always felt it was a privilege to be the head coach and a huge responsibility to those athletes.”

Delaney said that when he drove home, it hit him that he’s not the coach. “Those are great memories,” he said. “There are some who are part-time players and there are travel-ball players and they want to get to the next level. But to see the joy in each of them is what makes it so rewarding.”

Delaney summarized his feelings: “Every team wants to win, but there is only one team that’s going to win in each division,” he said. “Of course I want them to compete. But having core values is what they’re going to take with them.”

Burroughs Softball Takes Out Host Burbank 7-1

By Rick Assad

 

There were two vastly different emotions on display after Thursday night’s Pacific League softball game at McCambridge Park.

After the final out was recorded on a grounder to third base, the Burroughs High team and its faithful were elated after a 7-1 win over city rival Burbank.

Of course, there was dejection in the Bulldogs’ dugout, but at least one game remains when the CIF Southern Section playoffs begin with sites and matchups to be determined in the next few days.

Isabella Kam allowed five hits across seven innings for Burroughs, which won 7-1 over Burbank. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians (12-10 and 10-4 in league) also have an important postseason game next week.

The contest was nip-and-tuck after three innings as the Indians led 2-1, but a run in the sixth inning and four runs in the seventh would put the game out of reach.

Junior pitcher Isabella Kam was in the circle and hurled with cool confidence, allowing no hits in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh inning.

“Yes, honestly I was in the beginning because it was my first actual Burbank-Burroughs game where I’m pitching,” said Kam, who went seven innings with five hits yielded, five strikeouts and two walks of her early nerves. “It was kind of nerve-wracking for me, but I had a few girls calm me down and that was the most important thing, calming down.”

The Indians forged ahead 3-1 with a tally in the sixth inning as junior Sabrina Englebrecht’s single to center field off senior Alyssa Porras scored junior Chloe Bookmyer, who drew three walks and led off with a base on balls.

Alyssa Porras gave it everything she had in her last game against Burroughs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Porras has been a workhorse and was on Thursday, touring seven frames, giving up eight hits, walking three and striking out two.

“Last year Allie [Benson] motivated me so much because I always wanted to be the pitcher. I always wanted to start every single game. This season, everyone was hurt. Savannah [Benson] was hurt, Alex [Davis] pitched, played center and short,” Porras said. “I have to act like I wasn’t tired even if I was just so I could finish the game.”

The next inning was the backbreaker as Burroughs trotted eight hitters to the plate that included a two-run single to right center from senior Sierra Harvey (two hits) and a two-run base hit to left field by senior Megan Williams (three singles).

In the third, the Indians marched ahead 2-0 on a two-run homer by Kam as junior Memorie Munoz came around to score after reaching on an error.

“I’m just so happy that I did really well,” said senior Mia Storer, the center fielder who had tears in her eyes. “I’m so happy. I’m a four-year player and this means so much for me and to play really good in the last Burbank-Burroughs game. This will stay with me forever.”

Storer had two sensational catches including a running grab off the bat of senior Amaya Broyls in the fifth inning for the first out and a diving stab off the bat of senior Sarah Garelick in the sixth for the first out and sophomore Erika Montoya on base after an infield single.

The Bulldogs (11-12-1 and 8-6 in league) shaved the lead to 2-1 as Montoya’s hit brought home senior Desi Gomez, who singled.

“It’s always tough to lose your final league game on your home field,” Burbank coach Mike Delaney said. “At some point we didn’t do what we were supposed do to.”

Davis singled in the first inning and left with an injured shoulder and Broyls also singled in the first inning.

Burroughs, Burbank Swimming Teams Fares Well In Pacific League Finals

By Rick Assad

 

There wasn’t a lot of drama in the Pacific League swimming finals as Crescenta Valley High, a longtime power, had its boys’ and girls’ team each place first on Thursday at the Burbank pool.

The Falcon boys’ squad collected 685.5 points and the girls’ crew finished with 502 points.

Arcadia, another perennially strong school, had a strong showing as the boys’ and girls’ team each took second with the boys’ getting 614 points and the girls’ picking up 469.5.

Burroughs and Burbank also fared well in the meet as the Indian boys’ team placed fifth with 254 points and the girls’ squad grabbed third with 272 points.

The Pacific League swimming finals saw strong outings by Burroughs and Burbank. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I thought the teams did really well. A lot of PRs (personal bests). Three school records broken. Overall I’m proud of them,” Burroughs swim coach Jacob Cook said.

The Bulldog boys garnered third place with 309 points and the girls nabbed fourth with 173.5 points.

Burroughs junior Maya Wilson took first place in the 100 yard butterfly in a time of 59.68 and was second in the 500 yard freestyle (4:59.37).

Wilson is also part of the 200 medley relay team that was second (1:56.95) and included freshman Lilliana Noriega, freshman Elana Merrit and junior Emanuella Nathan.

Wilson is on the 400 freestyle relay squad that included sophomore Madeline Spangler, junior Isabel Oporta and freshman Kelly Long that finished third (3:59.67).

“It was a great practice day because some of my races were what I wanted them to be and others were not. This is just leading up to CIF which is where I’m going to be the most rested,” Wilson said of her day’s work. “It was a good, but not a great day.”

The Burroughs boys’ team placed fifth overall in the Pacific League finals. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Wilson said she was tired coming into the meet. “I felt terrible,” she noted. “I would say mostly physically and obviously that would play a role in my mentality. When I’m going through my resting periods leading up to big meets like CIF, my body fluctuates a lot and some days I’ll be extremely sore and some days I’ll not be sore at all.”

The Burbank foursome of senior Michelle Morlock, junior Simone Bethel, senior Emily Udall and junior Geneva Bethel were fourth (2:04.32) in the 200 medley relay.

Udall placed sixth (1:05.79) in the 100 butterfly and grabbed third in the 500 freestyle (5:39.61).

In the 100 butterfly, Burroughs senior Samantha Leandro was 13th (1:24.12) and Burbank senior Sharlene Nazari picked up 16th (1:31.32).

Spangler was fourth (58.12) in the 100 freestyle and Morlock captured sixth (59.11) in the same race.

Nathan placed 12th (1:02.06) and Burroughs sophomore Sophia Liwag was 15th (1:02.95).

Spangler was second (2:09.00) in the 200 yard freestyle and Burbank junior Geneva Bethel was fifth (2:14.97).

They’re off to a flying start in a Pacific League finals race. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs sophomore Isabella Mucha took eighth (2:15.42) and Burroughs junior Isabel Oporta was 10th (2:17.02).

In the 200 individual medley, Burroughs sophomore Angelina Lee was 10th (2:39.80) and Long took 11th (2:39.97). Long also placed 12th (6:21.81) in the 500 freestyle.

In the 200 IM, Burbank’s Ilona Oganesian was 15th (2:57.94) and Burbank senior Melody Moradi was 16th (2:59.87).

In the 500 freestyle, Burbank’s Hannah Nersissian was 14th (7:04.15). Noriega was fifth (26.48) in the 50 freestyle, Morlock placed seventh (26.62), Nathan grabbed 10th (26.28) and junior Simone Bethel was 16th (29.18).

In the 100 breaststroke, Merrit was seventh (1:17.32) and Simone Bethel took 10th (1.20.30) in the same race while Liwag finished 15th (1:24.84).

The team of Spangler, Mucha, Nathan and Noriega were third (1:49.61) in the 200 freestyle relay and Burbank’s sophomore Piper Mills, Moradi, Oganesian and Nazari took seventh (2:07.27).

The Burbank squad of Geneva Bethel, Simone Bethel, Udall and Morlock garnered fourth (4:07.75) in the 400 freestyle relay.

Burbank junior Ryan Feldman was fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:50.65) and Burbank senior Dorian Andrei placed 11th (1:58.71).

Burbank junior David Lee was fifth (50.45) in the 100 freestyle, Burbank sophomore Michael Jones placed 12th (53.07) and Burbank senior Charlie Thorpe was 16th (54.98).

Lee grabbed fourth (22.98) in the 50 freestyle, Burroughs senior Drew Baelly was eighth (23.58), Jones placed ninth (23.10) and Burroughs senior Isaack Dowling nabbed 16th (24.37).

Burbank sophomore Arsen Rostomyan was fifth (59.97) in the 100 backstroke, Burroughs junior Jehu Morning was ninth (59.86), Dowling was 11th (1:03.53) and Burroughs freshman Kristian Solano took 16th (1:10.30).

Burroughs senior Reigh Abaoag was sixth (54.12) in the 100 butterfly, Burbank sophomore Arsen Rostomyan took seventh (54.20), Burbank senior Gevorg Vardanyan was ninth (54.29), Gavurmadzhyan was 10th (54.91), Burbank senior Dorian Andrei placed 15th (58.59) and Burroughs senior Arshak Berberyan took 16th (59.67).

Abaoag placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1.02.88), Feldman finished sixth (1:03.00) and Burbank freshman Edward Mezhlumyan took 14th (1:12.85).

Burbank senior Gevorg Vardanyan was ninth in the 200 IM (2:09.34), Burbank senior Ashot Gavurmadzhyan took 10th (2:11.52), Burbank senior Gavin Jay grabbed 12th (2:25.31) and Burroughs senior Ryan Jaramillo finished 14th (2:33.74).

Burbank junior Henry Margaryan was 11th (6:07.72) in the 500 freestyle, Burbank sophomore Daniel semizyan took 12th (6:10.16), Burbank freshman Edward Mezhlumyan was 14th (6:23.78) and Burroughs junior Matthew Mucha was 15th (6:44.84).

The team of Feldman, Lee, Gavurmadzhyan and Rostomyan were third (3:21.78) in the 400 freestyle relay while senior Nathan Gault-Crabb, Dowling, Berberyan and Baelly took sixth (3:35.87).

Rostomyan, Feldman, Gavurmadzhyan and Lee were third (1:41.80) in the 200 medley relay and Morning, Abaoag, Gault-Crabb and Baelly finished fourth (1:43.14).

Andrei, Jones, Thorpe and Vardanyan placed fourth (1:33.71) in the 200 freestyle relay and Abaoag, Dowling, Gault-Crabb and Baelly were fifth (1:33.86).

Burbank Baseball Wins Thriller, 3-2, Over Visiting Burroughs

By Rick Assad

 

There’s something magical it seems when the Burbank High baseball team plays in a Pacific League game and it’s a one-run differential.

On Tuesday night, the team participated in its eighth such contest and came away with its seventh victory after defeating visiting Burroughs 3-2 in eight innings before a capacity crowd.

Runs and hits were somewhat hard to come by, but errors seemingly weren’t as each team had four.

The eighth inning began with sophomore Ryan King drawing a walk off senior Julian Jaramillo, who took the loss after working one and one-third innings while walking three.

Burbank pitcher Andrew De La Torre went eight innings and allowed four hits and two runs. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

King stole second base and senior Davis Mieliwocki, who belted a towering home run to right field in the fourth that tied it at 2-2 and singled in the first, was intentionally walked.

“We definitely settled down and Andrew [De La Torre] pitched a really good game so we had to pick him up with the at-bats,” said Mieliwocki of Burroughs’ two-run first.

Mieliwocki then spoke about his long homer.

“I knew he was going to give me a pitch to hit,” he said. “I just remember getting a pitch I could handle and doing damage with it.”

Both runners then moved up a base when senior Daniel Ruiz laid down a well-placed sacrifice bunt.

Junior Troy Lee stepped into the batter’s box and hit a ball back to the pitcher, who didn’t handle it cleanly as King raced home with the winning run.

Bob Hart, the Burbank coach, thought that Burroughs would walk the bases loaded and one out to force a play at home plate or a double play that would end the inning.

“I kind of thought they would do that,” he said of the strategy. “They were all pumped up. It’s a big Burbank-Burroughs game,” he said of the longtime rivalry that can be tough on your nerves. “You try to not panic. You take a business-like approach.”

The Indians (10-14 and 7-6 in league), who will host the Bulldogs (9-12-1 and 9-4 in league) on Friday night at 6 p.m., bolted ahead 2-0 in the first inning with the assistance of two Burbank miscues.

Julian Jaramillo was tagged with the loss. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Junior Brian Garcia lined to center field and senior Michael Le struck out looking by De La Torre, a senior who went eight innings.

“I don’t really focus on throwing hard as long as I’ve got defense,” said De La Torre, who yielded four hits with four strikeouts and four walks. “Yes, I was tired. I always want a chance to get my team through.”

Senior Collin Johnson walked and Jaramillo drilled a double down the left-field line.

Senior Nicco Chuidian was safe at first base when two errors were committed on one play as both runners crossed the plate.

“We took the lead because they threw the ball around,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “We average about two runs a game and our pitching is just over-taxed when they have to be perfect on the mound all the time.”

Sherwood, whose team is hitting a collective .230 with a team pitching staff earned-run average of 2.50, then added: “You’ve gotta play defense and you’ve gotta score runs. There’s three things in this game. Pitching. Hitting and defense.”

Burbank shortstop Ryan King making the throw to first base. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Sherwood said he should have pulled senior Xavier Dubon after three innings.

“That’s on me,” he pointed out. “They had a left-hander leading off and he struggles with left-handers. Our kids play hard. Our kids play well. I’m proud of our kids. I’m proud of all our guys.”

The Bulldogs came up with one run in the first inning with one out as  King was safe at first base on an error.

Mieliwocki’s single to center field off Dubon, who toiled four innings, striking out one with four hits surrendered, moved King to third base and cut the lead to 2-1 when Ruiz was safe on a force out.

After fanning senior Preston Lemus swinging and getting junior Hyatt Entz to ground to third base, De La Torre walked junior Albert Prado, but induced Garcia to bounce to third base.

Dubon worked a perfect second inning as junior Dominik Severo grounded to third base. Junior Jakob Duarte grounded to second baseman Lemus, who made a spectacular play, and senior Cody Winters grounded to first base.

De La Torre faced five batters in the third as Le walked to begin the frame. De La Torre whiffed Johnson swinging and Jaramillo popped up to the pitcher.

Both Burroughs and Burbank were a bit sloppy defensively as each committed four errors. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Chuidian was safe on an error as Le moved to second, but the inning ended when senior Andres Salazar popped up to shortstop.

Junior Aidan Gonzalez led off the third with a single to left center, but junior Oaklee Spens bounced into a double play and King hit back to De La Torre, who tagged him.

Lemus flied to center field to lead off the fourth and Entz was aboard on an miscue. De La Torre hit into a double play to end the frame.

Dubon is a submarine-style hurler and left an offering slightly up and in where Mieliwocki likes it and sent the pitch high and deep over the fence.

Dubon faced seven batters in the fourth inning as Burroughs committed two errors and beside the homer, allowed only a single to Severo.

De La Torre saw Garcia bounce back to the box and Le fly to center. Johnson walked, but Jaramillo flied to center.

Chuidian replaced Dubon and worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning as Spens flied to center, King lined to second base and Mieliwicki fanned, catcher to first base.

The Indians collected two hits in the sixth off De La Torre as Chuidian had an infield single to lead off the stanza and Lemus added a one-out base hit to left.

Salazar, the second batter in the frame, struck out swinging, while Entz was safe on a fielder’s choice as Chuidian was out at third base. Prado’s liner to second base concluded the inning.

Chuidian tossed another perfect inning in the sixth when Ruiz flied to left field, Lee fanned swinging and Severo lined to center field.

Garcia opened the seventh inning by grounding to shortstop, but Le roped a single to right center. The inning was over when Johnson bounced into a double play.

Jaramillo took the mound in the seventh inning and issued a leadoff walk to Duarte and senior Vincent Romano entered as a pinch runner.

Pinch hitter, junior Tyler La Marsna, grounded into a force out, Gonzalez grounded to second base and Spens bounced to Jaramillo.

De La Torre worked a perfect eighth frame as Jaramillo was out on a terrific stop and throw by King, the shortstop.

Chuidian, who fanned two hitters across two innings, lined to second base and Salazar popped to second.

Burbank Baseball Allows Nine-Run Fifth, Falls 15-5 To Pasadena

By Rick Assad

 

An early four-run cushion by the Burbank High baseball team wasn’t enough production against visiting Pasadena in a Pacific League game as it dropped a 15-5, five-inning decision on Tuesday afternoon.

During the nine-run, fifth-inning outburst, Pasadena sent 12 hitters to the plate with eight reaching on hits that included a grand slam to right field by sophomore Michael Gonzalez, who finished with three hits.

Gonzalez’s base hit to center in the second at-bat of the frame scored a run as did senior Robert Olivades, junior Jon Luke Goldman (two hits), sophomore Jesus Zuniga (two hits including a triple) and senior Christian Zambrano (two hits that included a three-base hit).

Down 10 runs and in order to avoid the 10-run mercy rule, Burbank needed to score at least a run and came close.

Andrew De La Torre was the starting pitcher in Tuesday’s 15-5 defeat to Pasadena. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Junior Dominik Severo led off with an infield hit, but was erased when junior Jakob Duarte bounced into a double play and when senior Cody Winters struck out looking, the game was over.

“We were missing a lot of pitches that were down and by us not finding that sweet spot, we were leaving the ball up and they were hitting the ball,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said. “I don’t think they’ve had that kind of offensive showing based on the stats that I’ve seen.”

Hart continued: “We didn’t deserve to win that game,” he noted. “It all works out the way it’s supposed to. When you get outplayed, you’re supposed to lose. And when you don’t do the basics, you’re supposed to lose.”

Burbank (7-12-1 and 7-4 in league) seized control 4-0 in the first stanza when it used three hits and a Pasadena error.

Junior Troy Lee’s two-out double to left center brought in junior Oaklee Spens (singled in the fourth inning), who reached on a two-base outfield error.

Senior Davis Mieliwocki was hit by a pitch and later came around to score on a single to center field by Severo.

Burbank stretched its lead to 4-0 on Winters’ double to left field that scored Lee and Severo.

Pasadena cut into the advantage 4-1 in the second when junior Hugo Escobedo lifted a sacrifice fly to left that brought home Zambrano, who lined a one-out triple to left center.

A four-run third inning by Pasadena (11-11 and 6-5 in league) made it 5-4 as 10 batters made their way to home plate that included three hits and two Burbank errors.

Senior Christian Perez’s scoring fly brought in sophomore Jackson Stuart, who doubled to left field to begin the inning.

Zambrano’s force out scored a run and Escobedo’s base hit to left field also knocked in a run.

Burbank, shown in a recent game against Crescenta Valley, committed three errors in a 15-5 loss to Pasadena. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We’ve never had an offensive game like that today, so it was very fun to watch,” Pasadena coach Mike Parisi said. “We’ve been working hard on keeping the ball out of the air and trying to hit line drives and let the ball travel.”

Parisi, who was at Pasadena for eight years and two at La Salle, has guided the Bulldogs to the CIF Southern Section playoffs seven of the eight seasons, knows that nothing’s guaranteed.

“If you don’t come to play, any team can beat anybody,” he pointed out. “There’s a lot of baseball left. There’s three games left. Every game’s a dogfight. We’re fighting to get into the playoffs.”

Burbank, which committed three errors to a pair for Pasadena, leveled it at 5-5 in the third when senior Daniel Ruiz opened up with a single up the middle, took second base on an error, third on Lee’s single to right field and scored on Severo’s grounder.

Senior Andrew De La Torre ventured two and two-third innings while giving up four hits and one walk.

Junior Josh Balos worked one and one-third innings, surrendered four hits and absorbed the loss.

Sophomore Ryan King toured one-third of an inning and yielded five hits and a walk and senior Joey Clark went two-thirds of an inning and gave up two hits with a strikeout.

Goldman worked an inning, hit a batter, walked a batter and allowed three hits, senior Jordan Zach tossed three innings, striking out four with a walk and three hits allowed and was credited with the win and senior Gavin Nouskajian pitched one inning, gave up one hit and fanned one.

Burroughs Boys Golf Finishes Second and Burbank Gets Third At DeBell

By Rick Assad

 

While the Masters conducted its first day in Augusta, Georgia, the fifth Pacific League boys’ golf match took place at the DeBell Golf Club on Thursday afternoon and for Burroughs High’s Kodiak Hernandez and Arcadia’s Josh Kwon, each had an impressive outing, as both shot a 4-under-par 67.

Hernandez fired a 3-under-par 33 on the front nine where he eagled the par-5 No. 1 and the par-5 No. 8 and then shot a 1-under-par 34 on the back nine.

“I tried to hit the ball straight and just play the best I can. DeBell’s a tough course if you don’t hit it straight,” Hernandez said of the course’s challenges.

Kodiak Hernandez shot a 4-under-par 67 and was tied for first place in a Pacific League match at DeBell Golf Club. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

What makes DeBell so difficult? “How short and narrow it is,” he said. “You just have to know where to position the ball to play well.”

How was Hernandez able to overcome the obstacles?

“My wedge shots and I was putting really well on the greens even though my tee shots weren’t on point,” he noted. “I felt pretty confident especially coming around the turn. I play DeBell very often and it helps a lot because you learn where to put the ball, the distances and the greens.”

The Apaches, who are the defending league champions, are in first place this season and were the overall team winner after shooting 367.

The Indians took second place at 388 and are in second with two matches remaining on the regular schedule.

Burbank came in third place at 402 as J.J. Nakao fired an even-par 71 that included a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine.

Burbank was third in the Pacific League match at DeBell on Thursday. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Overall I’m happy with my day, but I could have done a lot better,” Nakao said of his outing. “Midway through the round I could have focused a little more. Went shot-by-shot instead of thinking of the overall score.”

Does he also find DeBell especially tough? “It’s a pretty interesting course,” he said. “You’ve got to hit it straight every single shot. A couple of shots I hit left to right. You just have to take it stroke-by-stroke. I would say my long game saved me today. My putting was an issue.”

Ryan McGowan came into the clubhouse with a 5-over-par 76 for the Indians.

Lincoln Melcher finished with a 77 and Daniel Gonzalez capped his day with an 82 for Burroughs.

Trey Sanchez was next for Burroughs after shooting an 86, while Niko Coccio carded a 94.

Kevin Kienlen posted a 77 for the Bulldogs, and Ari Ahmed ended his 18 holes with an 82.

Burbank’s Frank Masyk closed out his day with an 83, Devin Blazon came into the clubhouse with a 89 and Hayden Chase shot a 102.

Crescenta Valley garnered fourth place with a 424 and was led by Hank Norman’s 76. Placing fifth was Pasadena with 477 as Jerome Dimalaluan paced the Bulldogs after shooting an 84.

Burbank Baseball Edges Visiting Crescenta Valley 3-2

By Rick Assad

 

In the game’s final at-bat in the eighth inning, Burbank High’s Dominik Severo knew the winning run was standing on third base and merely wanted to make contract.

Severo did and when junior Chad Ruf’s offering found his bat and then sizzled into center field for a base hit, junior pinch runner Adam Loera, who entered for junior Troy Lee, who was nicked by a pitch to lead off the frame, crossed the plate with the game-winning run, the Bulldogs earned a hard-fought 3-2 win over visiting Crescenta Valley on Tuesday night in a Pacific League game.

The extra-inning affair also snapped Burbank’s 19-game losing streak against the Falcons, who fell for the first time in league this season.

Andrew De La Torre didn’t get the win after working seven innings and allowing two runs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

In the inning, junior Tyler La Marsna, who came in as a pinch hitter, laid down a sacrifice bunt, but was safe at first base on a Falcon throwing error.

Junior Jakob Duarte also laid down a well-placed sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners to second and third base.

“I was a little nervous, but I just thought I have to stay composed and play my game and hit it through the infield and that’s just what I did,” said Severo, a junior, who had two hits including an infield single in the fourth. “I got out of the box and took three breaths and just relaxed and put it out of my mind.”

The contest drifted into extra innings when the Falcons (12-6 and 6-1 in league) scored in the sixth that made it 2-2 when junior Isaac Sung’s blistering double to center field scored junior Chase Smith, who drew a walk to begin the frame.

The Bulldogs forged ahead 2-1 with a tally in the fifth inning as junior Oaklee Spens led off with a bloop single to left, went to second on a grounder by sophomore Ryan King, stole third base and came home on a wild pitch.

Neither team scored until the third inning when Crescenta Valley made it 1-0. Sophomore Will Grimm delivered a one-out infield single, took second on senior Andrew De La Torre’s wild pitch and advanced to third base on an infield single by senior Brian Ghattas.

When Ghattas took off for second base and the throw was on its way, Grimm bolted for home and scored.

Oaklee Spens scored two of Burbank’s three runs against visiting Crescenta Valley. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“You pitch. You play catch and you put balls in play and run the bases the right way, good things are going to happen,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said. “I’m always happy when it’s a quality win. They’re a quality program. Anytime you can do well against them, it’s a feather in your cap.”

De La Torre was superb, allowing six hits with three walks and two strikeouts across seven innings.

Grimm was De La Torre’s equal, working seven innings, striking out five, walking four with five hits yielded.

The Bulldogs (5-9-1 and 5-2 in league) leveled it at 1-1 with a tally in the third inning as Lee’s single to right center brought in Spens, who led off with a hit to right center, and scooted to second base on King’s sacrifice bunt.

After senior Davis Mieliwocki walked, senior Daniel Ruiz was safe on a force out as Spens took third base.

Third baseman Davis Mieliwocki contributed three outstanding defensive plays, which helped the Bulldogs in their 3-2 win over the Falcons. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mieliwocki played third base and made three spectacular defensive plays.

“He got some action,” Hart said. “Even the ball he didn’t get, he knocked down and saved a run.”

Both teams used a pair of hurlers and each reliever was the pitcher of record as senior Joey Clark was credited with the victory after venturing one inning, walking one, hitting one batter and allowing one hit.

“My team was mentally into it tonight,” Hart said. “You could tell from the get-go and we had a terrible infield.”

Ruf absorbed the setback after surrendering one hit with a hit batter in one-third of an inning.

Aidan Gonzalez running hard to first base. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

De La Torre’s initial inning saw him face four hitters as Grimm grounded to second base, junior Vincent Parrott reached on an infield single, but erased when Ghattas lined to center field and Grimm was picked off at first base on the return throw.

De La Torre faced five batters in the second inning as Smith lined to right field, sophomore Noah Maddox drew a walk and raced to second base on Sung’s fielder’s choice.

De La Torre struck out junior Colby Rees swinging and sophomore Emilio Velis then flied to left field.

The fourth inning was a 1-2-3 frame for De La Torre, who induced Maddox to ground to shortstop, Sung to foul out to first base and Rees to bounce out to third base.

In De La Torre’s fifth inning, the right-hander walked Velis to begin the frame and induced senior Jamie Bleveans to pop up to the catcher.

Grimm singled to center field, Parrott reached on a force out as Velis became the second out and Ghattas flied to left.

De La Torre faced four batters in the seventh inning as Velis grounded to second base, Bleveans reached on an infield hit, but Grimm flied to center field and Parrott fanned looking.

Also getting base hits for the Bulldogs were Ruiz in the first inning and junior Aidan Gonzalez in the seventh.