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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.