BURBANK — It was an emotional evening for Burbank High baseball coach Bob Hart.
It was the final game in Bulldogs blue and white for a group of seniors that has helped the coach through a tough time after Hart suffered a heart attack during the offseason.
Those players lifted the coach Friday evening, ending the season with a 6-3 Pacific League victory against cross-town rival Burroughs at Burbank.
"It has been tough and I won't stand here and tell you it hasn't been tough," Hart said. "My own personal adversity has been tough, but I have found a lot of strength and courage from them.
"So, coaching is about giving, but it's also about what you get back. For me, I couldn't be more proud of the guys."
A year removed from one of the most successful seasons in decades in which Burbank (8-13, 6-8 in league) finished third in league and advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV quarterfinals, the Bulldogs ended the 2018 campaign tied for fifth place and out of the playoff picture.
Burroughs (13-15, 7-7), on the other hand, finished in fourth place and earns a berth in the postseason. The Indians were guaranteed the fourth spot outright earlier in the day when Muir defeated Pasadena, 3-2. Pasadena could have tied the Indians with a win.
"Coming into this game tonight, we knew we were locked into fourth place and we couldn't go any lower than that, even if we lost," Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. "So, it was just a night to honor our seniors and enjoy the night.
"I feel bad that we didn't win, but it was still a good night and they were out there trying and giving it their best."
Burbank, which lost to Burroughs on Tuesday, 5-2, jumped out in front in the first inning and never trailed. Designated player Davis Mieliwocki (two for four with two runs scored), who also pitched in relief, staked the Bulldogs to a 1-0 advantage with a solo home run over the short porch in right field.
The Bulldogs added to their lead in the second with two runs to take a 3-0 lead on run-scoring singles by first baseman Abiezer Delgado and right fielder Ryan King.
"We were doing this one for our seniors since this was their last game here," Mieliwocki said. "We really wanted to come out with the win and we were able to do that.
"We were able to string together some hits, get some walks and we had some good pitching and some good fielding. And there are always more emotions going on when we play against Burroughs."
The Indians finally got on the board with a run in the fourth inning. Second baseman Devin Esquivel reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a bases-loaded walk from shortstop Brian Garcia.
But Burbank responded with three runs in its half of the fourth to take a 6-1 advantage. Left fielder Matt Shaugabay (two for four with two runs batted in and a run) roped a double to the left-field fence to score two and first baseman Abiezer Delgado delivered a sacrifice fly to center.
A run-scoring single to center in the fifth inning by designated hitter Revin Diego (four for four) scored a run and first baseman Nathan Palafox (three for four with two doubles) hit into a fielder's choice to plate two runs for Burroughs to make it 6-3.
"We wanted to send the seniors out the right way," Hart said. "You want to win games, but you also want to build character and you want to create memories for them and have them create them for themselves — it's meaningful."
Burroughs will learn its playoff fate when the CIF releases the pairings Monday morning.