BURBANK — For the first time in more than two decades, the Burbank High baseball team entered the league campaign as a defending champion.
Last season, the Bulldogs shared the Pacific League crown with Crescenta Valley for the program's first title since 1991. However, after the graduation of 14 seniors, this year's team doesn't much look like the squad from a season ago.
Burbank played like an inexperienced squad in its league opener at home Tuesday against Arcadia, running itself out of scoring opportunities with baserunning mistakes and failing to score a run despite putting runners on base in every inning.
The Apaches took advantage, pushing across four runs in the first three innings and coasting to a 5-0 victory at Burbank.
"Missed signs, lack of execution, an inability to concentrate and youthful mistakes from a very inexperienced varsity squad," said Burbank Coach Bob Hart about his team's performance. "We are going to need to play smart baseball to be successful and we just didn't play smart baseball today."
Mistakes proved detrimental for the Bulldogs (3-7-1), particularly in the second and third innings when three Bulldogs runners were thrown out on the base paths.
In the first inning, catcher Sam McKinnon led off the inning with a walk. However, he was erased when he was caught in a rundown between first and second on a missed hit-and-run opportunity. With two outs, second baseman Camden Palmisano reached base on an error, but ran the Bulldogs out of the inning when he was thrown out at second on a steal attempt.
In the third inning, first baseman Ryan Porras singled up the middle. However, he was erased when he was thrown out at second on a steal attempt.
"When we kill innings like that, especially when we get a guy on with nobody out, there's no way we're going to be successful," Hart said. "We are just hammering ourselves when we do that."
While the Bulldogs were struggling to keep baserunners on in the early going, the Apaches (7-6, 1-0 in league) took advantage of their opportunities in the first three innings.
In the top of the first inning, Burbank starting pitcher Randy Higgins walked Digo Lynch. Lynch stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. He was able to score on a base hit to left field by Joey Harman.
Higgins got into trouble again in the second, giving up back-to-back singles to Nick Ibarra and Willie Okamoto. Ibarra scored on an infield groundout by Mike Saenz and Okamoto came around on a single to left field by Mike Lee.
The Apaches made it 4-0 in the third after AJ Jimenez doubled and scored on a fielder's choice at second off the bat of Nate Tse.
Arcadia added a single run in the seventh.
"This team needs to know if we play our 'A' game today, it's a while different story," Hart said. "But Arcadia came out and did a good job. …We actually got what we deserved today."
Burbank got runners to second base in the first, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but could not move any of them to third.
Shortstop Cameron Briggs was two for three, as was Porras. McKinnon reached base in all three of his plate appearances, walking twice and getting hit by a pitch.