Tag Archives: Matthew Diaz

Burroughs Baseball Earns 5-2 Win Over Burbank

By Rick Assad

 

There is an outside chance that the Burroughs High baseball team will participate in the upcoming CIF Southern Section playoffs after beating city rival Burbank 5-2 in a Pacific League contest at Tomahawk Field on Tuesday night.

With the stands filled to near capacity, the Indians scored a run in the first inning and four runs in the second.

“We’re playing for a playoff spot. We have to win to get in and we have to win on Friday or we’re out,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said.

Burroughs junior Nicco Chuidian went five innings, collected two hits with an RBI in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Burbank. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

That was all the scoring Burroughs (13-14 and 7-6 in league) would need as junior Nicco Chuidian went five innings, striking out two with three hits allowed.

“I thought Nicco did a great job to start the game,” Sherwood said. “He showed not only on the mound, but also at the plate what an elite player he is.”

Chuidian was mighty handy with the bat, collecting two hits and added a run batted in.

The Bulldogs (7-13 and 5-8 in league), who are out of the playoff hunt, scored two runs in the third inning as senior Abiezer Delgado’s base hit drove in both runs.

“Obviously you want to win games. That’s what we’re here to do, but at the same time you want to develop young men that you can be proud of,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said. “In that regard, I couldn’t be happier. They’re a great group of guys.”

Burbank pitcher Matthew Porras had a rough outing against the Bulldogs. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Hart then added: “They’ve matured. They conduct themselves at a pretty high level,” he said. “They’re all good in the classroom. Most of them are going to college. You want to win games, but you want to develop young men. Ultimately that’s probably as big a goal for me as trophy hunting.”

Junior Matthew Porras went two and two-third innings with a strikeout, while junior Daniel Ruiz ventured three and one-third innings.

The Bulldogs, who were limited to three hits, will host the Indians on Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.

Chuidian cruised through the fourth inning when he retired freshman Ryan King and Ruiz on fly outs to right field and senior Max Meltzer on a pop up to third base.

Ruiz faced four batters in the bottom of the frame as junior Julian Jaramillo (two RBIs) and senior Matthew Diaz grounded out to shortstop.

Junior Collin Johnson, who walked three times, was aboard on a base on balls, but junior Andres Salazar flied out to center field.

The fifth inning began with Chuidian inducing senior Matt Moreno to fly out to left field while sophomore Oakley Spens grounded out to shortstop.

Burroughs third baseman Julian Jaramillo making an over the shoulder catch. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Junior Davis Mieliwocki then grounded out to sophomore shortstop Brian Garcia (two hits), who made a terrific stop and then gunned the ball to first base for the final out.

“It’s what we live for. I woke up thinking, Burbank game. We’re all ready for this,” Garcia said.

Garcia spoke about the two hits. “I’m really just looking for that one pitch,” he said. “Nothing high. Nothing low. You have to take advantage of it.”

Garcia said that he knows how important these games are. “We have to have the same mentality and the same approach,” he pointed out of Friday’s match. “Who ever wants it more will come out on top.”

Burbank left fielder Matt Moreno gets the ball into the infield. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Ruiz faced three batters in the fifth as senior Nathan Palafox lined out to center field.

Senior Revin Diego walked and senior Andrew Jacob Barrera lined out to left field, but Diego was caught stealing for the third out.

Senior Joe Metcalf was on the mound to begin the sixth for the Indians and walked junior Andrew De La Torre and Delgado.

That’s Jaramillo on the base paths. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

In stepped junior Xavier Dubon in place of Metcalf and he fanned Porras for the first out.

“I think the relief job by Xavier, who came in with runners on first and second and nobody out with a three run lead and they didn’t score a run off him was one of the best relief jobs in years,” Sherwood said of his submarine specialist.

Dubon then induced King to reach on a force out, and fanned Ruiz for the last out.

“I was staying calm. Focus on just throwing strikes. Keeping it low. Get ground balls. I wasn’t trying to do anything special,” Dubon said of his outing. “I think it’s just the normal game. Come out here and just focus on you. Visualize it in your head and just do it. Believe in yourself.”

Six batters trotted to the plate in the home half of the sixth with senior Brandon Giraldo and Diaz reaching base on singles.

Salazar worked the final inning for the Indians and went 1-2-3 after Meltzer flied out to left field, Moreno grounded out to second base and Spens flied out to right field in foul territory.

Burroughs Baseball Plays Arcadia Tough, Lose 8-4

By Rick Assad

 

Even before the Burroughs High baseball team faced Arcadia on Tuesday, they knew a difficult task was at hand.

The Apaches are the No. 1-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division III and are ranked No. 7 in the state and No. 61st nationally according to the website maxpreps.com.

After falling behind by three runs, the Indians rallied and evened it in the fifth inning, but didn’t have enough over the final two stanzas and were defeated 8-4 in a Pacific League game at Tomahawk Field.

“The kids want to do well,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “It’s not like we did anything wrong, but they [Arcadia] did a lot of things right.”

Senior Nathan Palafox is one of the leaders for the Indians, who fell to Arcadia, 8-4. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Sherwood said that perhaps the players may be trying too hard.

“Can you put yourself in a relaxed atmosphere mentally and rely upon the coaching and your talent to execute? If you get caught up in the moment, you’re not likely to succeed usually,” he noted. “You have to play the game at your pace. At your intensity. Your ability to succeed.”

Burroughs (10-10 and 4-3 in league) sliced Arcadia’s lead to 3-1 with a run in the fourth as senior Andrew Jacob Barrera clubbed a double off the fence in left field that scored junior Jesse Rodriguez, who reached on a force out.

In the bottom of the fifth, senior Matthew Diaz led off and was safe on an error. After senior Nathan Palafox popped up to first base, junior Collin Johnson found a pitch he liked off senior Caden Ross and drove it over the fence in right field for a two-run homer that evened it at 3-3.

“Coach put me down in the lineup so I could see more fastballs,” said Johnson, the designated hitter, who batted in the No. 9 hole. “I’ve been told that their pitching’s pretty good. My approach to every at-bat is to take a good at-bat and help my team to the best of my ability. Get on base. Get a walk. Get a hit. Maybe move a runner over.”

Johnson went on: “I kind of describe it as like emotional in a sense,” he pointed out. “Today was good. We fought. If we have that fight in us the whole game, we’ll fight the whole game. When I hit that home run, it was electric in the dugout.”

Junior hurler Julian Jaramillo pitched well despite being on the losing end. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Ross took the win after working five-plus innings, yielding four hits with three strikeouts and one hit batter.

Junior Jacob Morales went two innings, striking out one with one hit allowed for the Apaches.

The Indians scored once more in the sixth inning when junior Julian Jaramillo led off with a single up the middle.

Rodriguez followed with a single to center field that moved Jaramillo to third base and Barrera’s sacrifice fly reduced Arcadia’s advantage to 7-4.

The Apaches (17-0 and 7-0 in league) jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning off Jaramillo when sophomore Dustin Allen was safe on a force out.

Two batters later, senior Tyus Santa Anna grounded out to shortstop as Allen scored.

Jaramillo pitched well in his initial start on the mound. Jaramillo ventured five-plus innings, surrendering four hits with two walks and two hit batters.

“Before the game I was trying to stay within myself, focus, pound the zone,” said Jaramillo, who singled twice. “As the game was going on, I was feeling more confident. In the first inning I was a little nervous, but I was ready.”

The Indians’ defense committed two errors against the Apaches. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

In the fourth inning, Arcadia’s lead became 3-0 as six batters came to the plate.

The only hit was a two-run single to right field by senior Chase Pedersen, who brought in junior Dominick Tello, who reached on an error and senior Tim Van kirk, who walked.

Arcadia put the contest out of reach with a four-run sixth inning as eight trotted to the dish.

Tello’s run-scoring double to left center drove in senior Arturo Felix, who came in as a pinch runner for Santa Anna, who walked.

Van Kirk’s single down the right field line plated Tello. Pedersen’s double to right center brought in Van Kirk and junior Jacob Lopez’s base hit to left field scored Pedersen.

Junior Xavier Dubon toiled two-thirds of an inning and surrendered three hits for the Indians, junior Nathan Metz worked one-third of an inning and gave up one hit and senior Joe Metcalf went one inning.

Burbank, Burroughs Baseball Both Set Sights High

By Rick Assad

 

It happens every spring, but there is still nothing sweeter than the sound of a baseball bat hitting a ball.

For Burbank High and Burroughs, the nonleague season is nearly over as the Bulldogs went 2-5 after games in the Easton Tournament, Quartz Hill tourney and Babe Herman Tournament, while the Indians are 6-6 after playing in the same tourneys.

The Pacific League is set to begin next week when the Bulldogs visit Arcadia on March 27 and the Indians host Glendale on the same day.

Burbank’s infield huddles after Coach Bob Hart makes a pitching change in a recent nonleague game against Chatsworth. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank welcomes longtime city rival Burroughs on May 8 and visits the Indians on May 11.

The Bulldogs, who went 15-10 and 10-4 in league for third place, advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs in 2017.

Burbank is talented and deep, but not overly experienced.

That’s just one reason for the substandard nonleague record and that the team played very good teams.

But Burbank Coach Bob Hart believes this will make his squad that much better when the league portion of the schedule commences.

“We want to play as many good teams as we can, even if we’re not going to win many games because it’s going to help us when the Pacific League comes around,” he said. “I could schedule teams I know we can beat, but in the long run that’s not really going to help us.”

Burbank’s infield includes senior first baseman Abiezer Delgado, while sophomore Jacob Duarte will also see time at first base.

Senior first baseman Nathan Palafox takes the throw in a nonleague match versus Northview. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Junior Matthew Porras, junior Kenny Won and sophomore Daniel Ruiz will spend time at second base.

Senior Max Meltzer will play shortstop, junior Davis Mieliwocki will patrol third base and senior Matt Shaugabay will be the catcher.

The Bulldogs’ outfield will have senior Matt Moreno in left field and center field, sophomore Oakley Spens will toil in center field while junior Andrew De La Torre will play right field, as will Duarte.

Senior Austin Ortega, along with juniors Trent Anderson, Cody Winters, Vincent Romano and Geovork Leklyan will also spend time in the outfield.

The pitching staff is filled with reliable arms and they include Porras, Ruiz, junior Joey Clark, De La Torre, Mieliwocki and Shaugabay, who will be the closer.

The Indians are coming off a season in which they went 14-13 and 8-6 in the league, but lost 2-1 in the opening round of the CIF playoffs to Santa Barbara.

Senior catcher Matt Shaugabay is a key cog offensively and defensively for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Although young in the middle infield and more juniors than seniors on the team, I feel we can be competitive with anyone in the league,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said.

The pitching staff is deep and will be led by junior Nicco Chuidian, who had some stellar moments in 2017.

Seniors Steven Gonzalez, Brandon Ortega and Joe Metcalf will add needed depth for Sherwood, who stresses defense and pitching as major priorities.

Junior submarine artist Xavier Dubon hopes to be a starting pitcher while juniors Andres Salazar and Brandon Aguilar will battle it out for the closer’s role.

The infield is solid and somewhat young and includes senior and captain Nathan Palafox at first base.

Burroughs senior Brandon Ortega, seen in a recent game against Northview, is one of many pitchers Coach Craig Sherwood has at his disposal. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Junior Collin Johnson will be the designated hitter and the backup first baseman.

Sophomore Brian Garcia will play shortstop and sophomore Devin Esquivel will see action at second base.

Seniors Brandon Giraldo and Gonzalez will play third base and junior Julian Jaramillo will also see time at the position.

According to Sherwood, whoever hits the most effective, will see the majority of the time at the position.

Behind the plate will be senior Matthew Diaz and Jaramillo, and once again, whoever hits with the authority, will spend most of the time behind the plate.

Senior Revin Diego, who played extremely well during the winter according to Sherwood, will play left field.

Chuidian and junior Michael Le will battle for time in center field, senior Andrew Jacob Barrera will patrol left field, while junior Dylan Rolando and Salazar will also see action in left field.

 

Burroughs Baseball Goes Cold Against Northview

There are times when the Burroughs baseball team looks like it is going to break through and put a big smile on the face of coach Craig Sherwood.

That wasn’t the case Tuesday night as the Indians fell 6-2 at home against Northview High of Covina in the Babe Herman Tournament.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“I told them to go back and replay every play that you did and ask yourself what you could have done better in each situation,” Sherwood said. “If you can say I did everything right, I’ll live with that. But if you say I didn’t make a play here or there then you have to improve from that. That’s the only way we’re going to get better as a team.”

 

Burroughs (6-6) had a runner on base in all but one inning but was able to push across two runs.

Defensively the Indians had four errors, some of which proved to be crucial.

“I think we play the mental game as well as anybody. We teach the mental game,” Sherwood said. “To be outplayed on our field playing catch is a disappointment. Our mantra here is to play catch.”

Northview (6-3) got on the board in the first inning when Connor McKinney put a hanging curveball by Burroughs starting pitcher Brandon Ortega onto the tennis courts in left field.

Burroughs tied things in the second inning as Devin Esquivel crossed home plate just before teammate Matthew Diaz was tagged out after being caught in a pickle.

After the teams were deadlock at one run each, Northview broke through with a pair of runs in the fifth inning.

Burroughs added a run to the deficit in half in the bottom half of the inning.

 

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Collin Johnson led off the inning with a double and later scored on a groundout by Nathan Palafox.

Northview came back to score once more in the sixth inning and twice in the seventh that came as a result of a controversial balk call against Burroughs reliever Jacob Real as well as an infield error.

The frustration is that sometimes I see play so well. Sometimes I see it clicking and then all of a sudden everyone goes backward,” Sherwood said.

Burroughs Baseball Can’t Find Offense, Falls To Knight 3-0

By Rick Assad

 

A pitching duel isn’t going to yield too many hits and runs, so it was imperative Burroughs High take advantage of any and all opportunities.

Across seven innings of Friday afternoon’s Quartz Hill Tournament baseball game against Knight at Tomahawk Field, the Indians fell short in that endeavor, losing 3-0.

“We’re just not hitting the ball. We’re just not swinging the bat,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said of the offense. “I thought the pitching was good. The pitching gave up one earned run. There were base running mistakes, also. They’re good kids and they’re trying. They’re putting the effort in and they’re working hard. Right now we’re in a funk.”

Burroughs junior submarine pitcher Xavier Dubon tossed a perfect fifth inning in a 3-0 setback to Knight. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

One opportunity slipped through their fingers and it came in the seventh inning when the Indians loaded the bases, but failed to score.

“We are the epitome of a .500 team,” Sherwood said. “We win a game and then we lose a game. I don’t know which switch they’re going throw that day. The on or the off switch.”

After senior Andrew Jacob Barrera lined out, senior Matthew Diaz then drew a walk from sophomore Cody Turner and when junior pinch hitter Nicco Chuidian was hit by a pitch, Diaz moved to second base.

“If we wanted it, we should have hit it,” Diaz said of Turner’s soft offerings. “I feel like we weren’t aggressive enough.”

First-time starter on the hill, Julian Jaramillo, went four solid frames, but suffered the 3-0 loss to the Hawks. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Is there a fatigue factor given that Burroughs is in the middle of an eight-game stretch over eight days?

“We’ve been doing this since the summer,” said Diaz, who singled to center field in the second inning. “We’ve played a bunch of games since the summer. More competition, the better we’ll get.”

Junior Demetrius Freeman was called in and immediately walked junior Andres Salazar, which loaded the bases.

Freeman settled down and retired senior Brandon Giraldo on a called strikeout. Freeman induced pinch hitter junior Jesse Rodriguez to fly out and collected the save.

Neither team scored in the first and second frame, but the Hawks (3-4-1) pushed over two runs in the third inning.

Indians center fielder Andres Salazar made a terrific diving catch in the first inning on Demetrius Freeman’s looper. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

With two out, junior Julian Jaramillo, who was making his first varsity start on the mound, walked junior Eduardo Morales.

Freeman then lined a sharp double down the left-field line as Morales scored to make it 1-0.

Knight pulled ahead 2-0 when senior Devan Graves was safe on an error and scooted to second base.

Graves was stranded there when Jaramillo, who toured four innings, surrendering two runs (one earned), two hits with three strikeouts, four walks and two hit batters, saw senior Luis Vega fly out to center fielder Salazar.

In the first inning and facing the first batter of the game, Salazar made a brilliant diving catch on Freeman’s looper.

Knight added a run in the top of the sixth inning that made it 3-0 against junior Brandon Aguilar.

Burroughs first baseman Nathan Palafox is about to catch the ball in a pick-off attempt. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Vega doubled to right center and crossed the plate when senior Marc Vega reached base on an error.

Aguilar went one inning and fanned one with an unearned run, junior Xavier Dubon tossed a perfect fifth inning and senior Jacob Real toured a hitless seventh inning, walking one and striking out one.

In three of the seven frames, the Indians (4-5) were retired in order by Turner.

Turner delivered six and one-third effective innings, allowing two hits, walking four with three strikeouts and two hit batters.

In the first inning, after sophomore Brian Garcia bounced back to Turner, senior Revin Diego lashed a single up the middle and moved to second base on a wild pitch.

That would be it for Diego as senior Nathan Palafox then lined out and Barrera grounded out.

In the third inning, the Indians were able to muster a one-out walk by junior designated hitter Collin Johnson.

Johnson was erased when Garcia reached on a force out and Garcia was erased on Diego’s force out.

In the fifth inning, Salazar drew a one-out walk and raced to second base on Giraldo’s walk.

Johnson was safe on a force out and the inning ended when Johnson was caught stealing second base.

Burbank Baseball Closes Deal, Beats Burroughs, 5-1

By Rick Assad

 

Fittingly on Senior Night, a pair of upperclassmen for the Burbank High baseball team helped push the Bulldogs to a 5-1 Pacific League triumph over visiting Burroughs on Tuesday night.

Matt Lungaro ventured seven innings and yielded six hits, while Christian Guerra delivered the go-ahead, bases-loaded, two-run single to center field during a four-run sixth inning uprising.

“This was a big moment for him,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said of Guerra. “This was Senior Night and though he hasn’t had the season he wanted, he showed what he’s capable of doing.”

Matt Lungaro, shown in a recent Pacific League game, allowed six hits in a 5-1 win over Burroughs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The game was notched at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth when senior Henry Leake walked to open the frame.

Junior designated hitter Abiezer Delgado was safe on a fielder’s choice and Leake scurried to second base on an error.

Junior Matthew Shaugabay was hit by a pitch and up stepped Guerra, who worked the count to 3-2 and then lined a Matthew Rudas fastball that made it 3-1.

“We might not be the most talented team, but we fight hard and we scrap,” Hart said. “We don’t take anything for granted. We fight for everything.”

The third run came in on a balk and Burbank’s advantage became 5-1 on junior Max Meltzer’s sacrifice fly.

The Bulldogs (14-8 and 10-3 in league) led 1-0 in the third inning when Meltzer singled to right field, and then stole second base.

The Indians had base runners, but cashed in only one run versus Burbank on Tuesday. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sophomore Davis Mieliwocki’s base hit to center advanced Meltzer to third base and scored on senior Chris Minnick’s single.

The Indians (12-13 and 7-6 in league) evened it at 1-1 with a run in the fourth inning when junior Nathan Palafox led off with a single to left field.

Freshman Adan Perez came in as a pinch runner and junior Daniel Leonard (two singles) moved him to second base on a grounder. Perez eventually came around on an error.

“I’m proud of my guys,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said of his team who have a home game on Friday at 6 p.m. against the Bulldogs. “But you have to take your hat off to Burbank. They were the better team tonight.”

Sherwood continued: “It’s one game, but we’ll be back. That’s baseball,” he said.

Lungaro retired the side in order in the first and squirmed out of a second-inning jam.

Junior Andrew Jacob Barrera doubled down the left-field line to open the frame and took third on Leonard’s single to left.

Leonard stole second, but Lungaro then fanned junior Brandon Giraldo and junior Matthew Diaz to end the threat.

“I try and come out and just relax,” said Lungaro, who struck out seven. “I just want to hit my spots and not worry about all the stress. I felt pretty confident that we were going to win.”

The Bulldogs managed four hits, but scored five runs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Five batters went to the plate for the Indians in the third including sophomore Niccolo Chuidian, who led off with a single to left.

Freshman Ricardo Perez was safe on an error and advanced to second base on senior Brandon Martinez’s grounder, but senior Justin Palafox flied out and Barrera fanned to close the inning.

Martinez’s one-out single in the fifth was followed by Justin Palafox striking out and Barrera grounding out.

After Leonard’s one-out single in the sixth inning, Giraldo then flied out and Diaz grounded out.

Lungaro struck out Chuidian to open the seventh, Perez bounced back to the box and Martinez lined out.

Rudas, a senior, toured five-plus innings, allowing four hits with five strikeouts and one walk and five hit batters, while junior Brandon Ortega went one inning and nicked one batter.

Burroughs Baseball Routs Glendale, 8-0, In Pacific League Match

By Rick Assad

 

A first inning, four-run outburst made Niccolo Chuidian’s six-inning stretch on the mound that much easier as the right-handed pitcher was the recipient of an 8-0 Burroughs High victory over Glendale on Friday afternoon at Tomahawk Field.

“I don’t think that he had his really good stuff,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said of his sophomore hurler. “That early lead really helped him.”

Riley Hooper collected a run-scoring triple in the fourth inning against Glendale. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

In that opening frame, the Indians trotted eight batters to the plate and saw the first six reach base off losing pitcher, senior Jacob Rangel, who went one and two-third innings, surrendering five of the eight hits with two walks and one hit batter.

Junior Andrew Jacob Barrera delivered a clutch two-run triple to left center that plated freshman Ricardo Perez, who singled up the middle and senior Riley Hooper, who walked.

Niccolo Chuidian wasn’t super sharp, but took the 8-0 win. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The first run was tallied by senior Justin Palafox, who led off with a hit to right field and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Senior Brandon Martinez had a run-producing single to left field that brought home Barrera.

Chuidian wasn’t especially sharp over those six frames, hitting three batters with one walk, but allowed only three hits, struck out six and recorded his fifth win without a loss this season.

“I felt normal out there, but I was missing high a lot,” said Chuidian. “But I got the job done.”

Chuidian said his mechanics were slightly off. “I want to be consistent with my release point and today I wasn’t,” he noted. “I’m always looking to be consistent. I think that I’m stronger now than when the season began.”

Burroughs (9-7 and 5-1 in league) extended its advantage to 5-0 in the second inning when Palafox singled with one out, scooted to second base on Perez’s grounder and scored when Hooper was safe on an error.

Center fielder Brandon Giraldo camps under this pop up . Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The Indians tacked on a run in the third inning to make it 6-0 when Martinez walked to lead off the frame and eventually scored on two errors by the Nitros (1-15-1 and 0-7 in league).

In the fourth, the Indians made it 7-0 on Hooper’s triple to right center as Perez crossed the plate after walking to open the inning.

The second run made it 8-0 on Barrera’s sacrifice fly to right as Hooper came around.

Burroughs junior Steven Gonzalez singled in the fourth inning with two out and pinch runner, freshman Adan Perez was left stranded while junior Matthew Diaz added a two-out base hit in the sixth inning, and was also left stranded.

Senior Henrik Buchanan worked the seventh inning, allowing one hit with a strikeout and a hit batter.

Senior Bryce Wong collected a pair of singles for Glendale, which played the Indians close three days earlier.

“That was a different team than the one we watched on Tuesday,” Sherwood said. “It seems that we always play better on Friday. Maybe it’s home cooking?”

Burroughs, Burbank Baseball Reach For The Stars

By Rick Assad

You know that the baseball season has begun when the weather begins to heat up and the sky turns a bright blue.

For Burroughs High and city rival Burbank, the two are looking to have a solid year and to make a dent in the Pacific League standings.

The Indians have divided four games in the Easton Tournament and are 3-4 overall this season.

Pitching is king. Burroughs has a number of solid arms in its arsenal. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs opens league play at Hoover on March 28 and visit Burbank on May 9 and host the Bulldogs on May 12.

“I’m not really sure what I have this season,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “We’ve been good at times this season and we’ve been not so good.”

In 2016, the Indians had a successful campaign after tying Crescenta Valley for the top spot in league.

Burbank will rely on steady work in the infield and outfield. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs began the season by winning the prestigious Easton tourney, 1-0, over highly-ranked Harvard-Westlake behind ace Kyle Nicol, who is now playing for Cal State Northridge.

Nicol’s place will be picked up by a bevy of competent arms like seniors Riley Hooper, Matthew Rudas, junior Salvador Cabezas and sophomore Niccolo Chuidian.

Additionally, Sherwood, who has been a longtime coach, will also have on the mound senior Henrik Buchanan, senior infielder Brandon Martinez, junior Jacob Real and junior Brandon Ortega.

Fundamentals are always stressed under Burroughs Coach Craig Sherwood. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

All of these hurlers will need to be efficient in order for the Indians to repeat what took place a season ago.

If the old saying that pitching and defense wins games, the Indians, who went 19-7 and 12-2 in league, will need this to be their mantra.

“I think CV’s the favorite to win league this year,” said Sherwood, whose team fell in the CIF Southern Section opening round in 2016. “They have strong pitching and they have good tradition. Burbank is much improved and I think we’re going to be in the mix along with Pasadena and Arcadia.”

For Burbank, under Coach Bob Hart, working in the batting cage is crucial. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sherwood stresses being able to catch and throw the baseball.

“Defense is always our No. 1 priority,” he said. “If you don’t hit well, you can always rely on your defense. It’s really important to have a good defense.”

Burroughs has several key players returning and they include senior infielder Justin Palafox, who batted .434 with 16 runs batted in and 17 runs scored, and junior first baseman Nathan Palafox, his younger brother.

“In high school, you don’t rebuild because there isn’t free agency,” Sherwood pointed out. “You reload and continue the winning tradition that we’ve built here.”

The other members include senior outfielder Angel Estrada, senior infielder Erik Gonzalez, junior outfielder/catcher Steven Gonzalez, junior catcher Matthew Diaz, junior outfielder Brandon Giraldo and junior outfielder/catcher Revin Diego.

The rest are junior outfielder Daniel Leonard, junior outfielder Andrew Jacob Barrera, junior outfielder Casey Cromie and freshman infielder Ricardo Perez.

For a Burroughs runner, it’s on your mark, get set and go. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank, which finished 9-13, 8-6 in league and lost to Mayfair in a postseason wild-card game, also has designs on being in the hunt.

Whether Burbank, which went 3-2 in the Easton tourney and is 3-3 this campaign, will be in the running actually depends on members of the highly-successful football team that include seniors Danny Porras and Jake Kelley.

Both Porras and Kelley have sustained fairly serious injuries, so Coach Bob Hart can’t count on them to play in that many games.

“If we’re healthy, I think we’re capable of being right there,” said Hart of the league race which begins at Muir on March 28. “If we’re not healthy, then the other guys have an opportunity to seize the moment and step up.”

For the Bulldogs, there’s no getting around taking grounders. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Porras is a first baseman and pitcher and was also tabbed honorable mention, while the other projected starters are senior and all-league pick, Henry Leake, at third base, sophomore Davis Mieliwocki at first base, senior Johnathan Castaneda at second base, junior Maxwell Meltzer at shortstop and junior Matthew Shaugabay at catcher.

The outfield will consist of senior Chris Minnick in left field, senior Branden Phillips in center field and junior Abiezer Delgado, who will also be the designated hitter, in right field.

Seniors Chris Guerra and Owen Ruiz will see time in the outfield as will senior Javier Reyes, who can also play catcher.

The pitching staff will be paced by senior Matt Lungaro and senior Colby Vosgien.

“I think our pitching is going to be fine,” Hart said. “Colby is a left-hander and has been injured, but we’re hoping that he’s going to be able to help us.”

Others on the squad include sophomore third baseman/outfielder Matthew Porras, junior first baseman/outfielder John Ennis and junior outfielder Erik Higgins.