GLENDALE — A game-winning two-run double from Burbank second baseman Hyatt Entz in the bottom of the sixth inning provided the final comeback in a game full of rallies, as the host Dukes defeated Crescenta Valley Landrys, 10-9, in Saturday evening’s action in the Major Baseball Tournament of Champions at Babe Herman Field.
The Dukes’ victory denied an opportunity for visiting Landrys to sweep through tournament play and clinch the title and now forces a winner-take-all finale for both teams back at Babe Herman on Monday at 6:30 p.m.
“Obviously, it was a huge game from Hyatt today that saved us,” Burbank skipper Tony Castiglioni said, “but if you look at this roster from top to bottom, we feel we can compete with Landrys.
“They have a really good team, but I think our pitching and hitting can match theirs and we have one more game to show that.”
Burbank had to battle its way out of the consolation bracket after Landrys (20-6) handed the Dukes (23-1) their only blemish this season in a 10-5 defeat in the tournament’s opening round on June 4.
Since then, the Dukes have rallied for five straight victories to steam into Monday.
As for Entz, Burbank’s’ No. 5 hitter finished three for three with three doubles and five RBI.
Yet, before Entz could provide the heroics, his teammates first set the table with Crescenta Valley leading, 9-8, entering the bottom of the sixth.
Burbank’s Alberto Ayala (two for four with three runs) led off the inning with a single and was then joined on the base paths two batters later after a one-out walk to Niccolo Chuidian, which brought Entz to the dish.
Entz fell behind, 1-2, before he laced the fourth pitch into right-center field deep enough to plate two runs and force one more game.
“We weren’t down after we fell behind going into that last inning,” Castiglioni said. ‘We knew we had our No. 2, 3, 4 hitters and Hyatt coming up, so we knew we had a chance.”
A Burbank victory seemed like a foregone conclusion after the Dukes plated four runs, all with two outs, in the bottom of fourth with two coming on a double from Entz and one on a single from Ricky Perez (two for four, homer, two RBI and two runs) to take an 8-1 lead.
Despite being two-hit through the first four innings, Landrys mounted an impressive six-run rally in the top of the fifth to pull within 8-7 in spite of the rare occurrence of striking out four times during the frame.
The Dukes aided Landrys’ cause with three walks and three wild pitches in the inning, which allowed for a two-run single from Trent Steele (two RBI and a run) immediately followed by a three-run homer from Bryson Reeves.
After Burbank failed to score in its half of the inning, Crescenta Valley capped its wild comeback after a two-out homer from Sam Kuntz to take a brief 9-8 lead heading to the bottom of the sixth.
“I think the difference today is that the offense just took too long to get going,” Crescenta Valley Coach Brett Ramaker said. “We went made that comeback, that’s who we are. We’re a team that hits home runs and gets extra-base hits. We have the best offense around and we’ll be ready on Monday.”
Crescenta Valley delivered the opening salvo with a run-scoring single from Jade Low (two for three with one RBI and run) that scored leadoff batter Vincent Parrott (three runs) as Landrys led, 1-0, after a half inning.
Burbank bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-run double from Entz. The Dukes eventually tacked on two more runs in the third on back-to-back wild pitches in taking a 4-1 lead after three innings.