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Burbank Junior All-Stars claim state softball title

An onward to the Junior Regional go the Burbank All-Stars.

Undefeated and basically untested, the Burbank Junior All-Stars softball team survived its first real test on Saturday evening and emerged as the Junior Division (State) Tournament champion after it edged Apple Valley, 4-3, at Banning Pass Little League.

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Burbank is now headed to the Junior Regional in Tuczon, Ariz., which runs from Friday through July 19, with opening ceremonies on Friday and first games set for Saturday.

Previous to Saturday’s division title game, Burbank hadn’t allowed a run in its two prior tournament games, defeating Culver City, 11-0, to open the tournament on June 30 and besting Apple Valley, 6-0, on Thursday.

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Saturday’s state championship proved to be more difficult, though.

The locals were trailing, 3-0, going into the fifth inning.

“We ran into a girl who was throwing pretty well,” Burbank coach Rocco Buffalino said. “We put the ball in play; we just didn’t find any holes.”

Burbank chopped away with single runs in the fifth and sixth to cut it to 3-2.

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However, in the seventh inning, Burbank was down to its final out.

But it was then that Angie Marquez was hit by a pitch. Lizzy Zamora then put down a bunt single. An infield single by Calista Lee followed and all of a sudden the bases were loaded.

Annie Buffalino then stepped up and sent a grounder with a funny and fortune spin to first base where it hit off the first baseman’s glove and scored two runs for the win.

“I think if [the first baseman] makes the play, it’s bang-bang,” Rocco Buffalino said. “Once it hit her glove it ricocheted.”

Burbank, the District 16 representative and Section 2 champion, improved to 6-0 in the postseason, which began for the locals in the Section 2 tourney at Tujunga Little League. Burbank has outscored its opposition, 71-14.

Thus, Saturday’s nailbiter could be a positive going forward now that Burbank has a close game under its belt.

“We play mainly teams that we dominate, but this team showed them that even if we’re down, we have a chance,” coach Buffalino said. “It was a pretty exciting deal.”

And now, Burbank will look to become the best in the west.

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“We’ll go up there, we’ll compete, we’ll do what we do,” Buffalino said, “and let the chips fall where they may.”

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