Following a difficult stretch in its pool, the Burbank Little League Senior All-Star softball team faced a tough challenge Friday in the World Series.
The Media City squad took fourth in its pool and faced the No. 1 seed in Asia-Pacific from the other pool in the 10-team tournament. In addition, Asia-Pacific, based in San Miguel, Philippines, came in looking to win the series for the second straight season.
Burbank (1-4 overall) held its own by building a lead midway through the contest, before yielding five runs late in a 6-2 loss in Lower Sussex, Del.
Burbank, the first area team from District 16 to advance to the World Series since 2010, will take on the East Region representative from Pennsylvania in a consolation contest at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“We were hanging in there and some things just happened,” Burbank Manager Rocco Buffolino said. “We started to kick the ball around and you just can’t do that against these real good teams.
“It was anybody’s game heading in to the late innings. We had some rough stretches today, just liked we have throughout the whole series. We’ve got another game Saturday and we’ll try to regroup and finish up on a good note.”
Asia-Pacific took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the bottom of the third inning.
Burbank, which won the District 16, State and West Region crowns and was looking to be the first area team to win a World Series championship since 2001, tied it at 1 in the fourth on a run-scoring hit by Kaelyn Freed.
The Media City team took a 2-1 lead in the sixth, but Asia-Pacific tallied three runs in its half of the inning to grab a 4-2 advantage after a dropped fly ball in the outfield.
Asia-Pacific, which will meet the Southwest Region representative from Texas in a semifinal game at 5 p.m. Saturday, scored two runs in the sixth to clinch the victory.
Burbank finished with three hits. Gigi Garcia and Lily Stell each scored one run.
Asia-Pacific starting pitcher Kacelyn Valino went the distance, striking out 15 and walking one.
Burbank wrapped up Pool B action Thursday with a 14-4 loss to the Southeast Region champion from Florence, S.C. The game was called in the middle of the fifth inning.
Burbank took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead before Southeast scored four runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-2.
The Media City squad tied it at 4 in the second, but Southeast pushed across three runs in the second to build a 7-4 lead. Southeast scored two runs in the third and five in the fourth to seal the victory.
Ann Buffolino finished with two hits for Burbank, which finished 1-3 in its pool.
Burbank recorded a 3-1 pool-play victory against Europe-Africa (Netherlands) on Wednesday.
It scored three runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a two-run home run from Savannah Benson. Melissa Orozco notched two hits for Burbank.
Buffolino went the distance, allowing one run on two hits and striking out four.
The Media City team, the 10th District 16 squad to participate in the World Series since 1980, opened the tournament with pool-play defeats against Michigan and Canada on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.