Casey Burrill of Hart High was the only player on the baseball field who felt any pressure in the late innings Friday afternoon during Hart’s 10-4, Foothill League victory at Burroughs.
When Burrill came to bat in the sixth inning with the bases empty, the only thought on his mind was hitting a home run.
No, it wasn’t for his teammates or his coach. They were practically asleep in the dugout after Hart had jumped out to an 9-0 lead by the third inning.
And no, the home run wasn’t to win a bet or help rejuvenate a sick child lying in a hospital bed.
Instead, the homer was meant for his grandmother, who was on vacation from Michigan and watching in the stands. Three weeks ago, Casey promised Vivian Burrill that he’d hit one out before she went back to Grand Rapids.
The only problem was that the sophomore left fielder was down to his last at-bat and his grandmother was heading back to Michigan this morniing by plane.
But this “Casey at the Bat” had a happy ending Friday. Burrill revised the outcome from that legendary ballad when he belted a home run over the right-field fence off Burroughs pitcher John Boysen. It was only the second home run of the season for Burrill and capped Hart’s six-run victory.
“It’s a great feeling because my grandparents haven’t had much of a chance to see me play,” Burrill said. “I really started thinking about hitting one in the second inning when I flied out to deep right field. It’s really funny. My first homer was in my first at-bat of the season. The home runs have kind of come at weird times.”
But the rest of Hart’s 13-hit attack was right on schedule.
Burroughs (8-9, 3-6) sent out pitcher Sean Perry, who started the season on the junior varsity squad. Perry’s second varsity starting assignment was a disaster as Hart racked up nine runs on seven hits in three innings.
Hart (14-5, 6-3) scored five runs in the first inning after Perry had retired the first two batters.
Hart picked up another run in the second inning on a walk, passed ball, wild pitch and sacrifice fly by Burrill, who was 2 for 2 with 2 runs batted in. In the third inning, Mike Stephenson gave Hart a 9-0 advantage with a two-out, three-run home run.
“They just don’t have any pitchers that can keep our hitters down,” Hart Coach Bud Murray said.
In the bottom of the third, Burroughs’ Dean Money hit a two-run home run off Lee (7-1) to break the shutout. Burroughs scored two more runs in the fifth on a wild pitch and run-scoring single by Rick Hoban off reliever Chris Matkin.