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IT’S ALL RELATIVE

McCAMBRIDGE PARK -- You need a genealogy scorecard to keep track of

the family ties on this season’s Burbank High softball team.

Pay close attention to the Bulldog lineage, because we’re only

going to go over this once.

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And, yes, there will be a quiz at the end.

The Burbank Coach is Ken Schafer. Pretty simple? But here’s where

it gets complicated.

The coach’s daughter -- Jillian -- is a sophomore pitcher for the

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Bulldogs.

Jillian’s first cousin is Kristin Talamantes, an all-league

catcher who has already landed a Division I scholarship.

The two players are joined by another cousin -- Lindsay Talamantes

-- a sophomore starting outfielder.

Kristin’s father -- Jess Talamantes -- is an assistant coach and a

former standout football and track and field athlete at Burroughs.

Jess’ brother -- Louie -- is also an assistant coach, and

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Lindsay’s father.

With six family members directly involved in one program, the odds

are pretty good conversation turns to Burbank softball whenever these

relatives get together at the Thanksgiving table.

“Just last weekend for Mother’s Day, we were together talking

about softball,” Lindsay said.

“When we all see each other at school, we also seem to talk a lot

about softball. We talk about upcoming games and maybe what to

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expect, strategies and things like that.”

Ken said all the sports talk between the Burbank players and

coaches sometimes takes its toll on particular relatives.

“I think it’s the wives who get on us a lot,” he said. “I think

they get tired of us talking about softball all the time.”

Some might think that with a group of family members on the same

team, there is bound to be occasional friction or some rivalries.

However, in the case of the Schafer and Talamantes members, they get

along like -- one happy family.

“The thing about the three girls is they really get along

together,” said Ken, a former baseball standout at Burbank High.

“They have all played together on a travel team together, so they

really know one another on, and off, the field.

“Not only do we all get along as a family, but with Jess and Louie

being from Burroughs, and me being from Burbank, we have a little

cross-town thing going on between us. But we are all united for one

cause, and that’s kind of neat.”

Kristin has emerged as the most successful player of the group.

Along with maintaining a .500 or better batting average for most of

the season, she has also had the tough decision about deciding where

she is going to play in college.

After a lot of thought, and a few recruiting trips, Kristin

decided to sign with Mercer University, a Division I school in

Georgia.

“I think it’s been great playing with my cousins,” Kristin said.

“It has really brought all of us closer. We all want each other to do

well and succeed, so we always pull for each other.”

Ken Schafer said Kristin’s dedication and talent has made her a

joy to coach.

“All these kids on the team are great to coach, but it has been

extra special for me to coach Kristin,” he said. “She is just a

coach’s dream and you don’t have players who come along like her very

often.”

*

Although the team has its share of talent, the Bulldogs have

struggled this season. Burbank has a 5-16 record and will not finish

among the top three teams in league, keeping it out of the CIF

Southern Section playoffs.

If there is something the team can be proud of, it is Burbank got

a league win this season, something the Bulldogs couldn’t accomplish

in 2002.

With one game remaining, there is something else the Bulldogs want

to do before the season ends.

“We want to beat Burroughs in our last game,” Jillian said.

“I just hope we just can keep improving every year. Getting the

win in league this year proves we are improving.”

The Bulldogs will close out their season at 7 p.m. Thursday in a

league contest against the rival Indians at McCambridge Park. In

their first meeting April 29, Burbank played well in a 3-0 loss.

A win over Burroughs could give the Bulldogs something to build

on, along with serving as a fitting going-away present for Kristin.

Now, that quiz question: What does having six relatives on the

same team produce?

Answer: For the Schafers and Talemanteses, it has brought their

family closer, and produced a unity that has been a joy for all

involved.


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