GLENDALE — Evidenced by a 1-2-3 inning from starting pitcher John Nunes and the subsequent six-run outburst in the bottom of the inning, Crescenta Valley Foothill’s start to the Tri-Cities Minor Baseball championship game was a dominant one.
But a Burbank Angels squad that never relented and 10 Foothill errors added up to a finish that hardly resembled the start.
Bolstered by a stellar relief performance on the mound from Ricky Sanchez, the Angels rallied for a 16-10 title-winning victory over Foothill on Thursday evening at Babe Herman Field.
“All year our team has battled,” Burbank co-Manager Ralph Ramirez said. “We knew if we put the ball in play, eventually the runs would come.”
That prognosis came to fruition, as Burbank (22-0) had more players reach base on errors and scored more runs than it had hits, of which it tallied seven. Foothill (17-1) had 11 hits, with four coming from Damian Sanchez, who went four for four with a double, a triple and two runs scored.
“Our defense let us down,” Foothill Coach Tim Rivers said. “We’re usually better than that.”
Ricky Sanchez did Foothill no favors, either, picking up the victory as he pitched the final four innings, entering the game with a 10-5 deficit and holding CV scoreless. He allowed just three hits and struck out four, including the final batter of the game.
“We knew that we had our big closer,” Ramirez said. “We had no doubt that eventually we were going to shut the door.”
In retrospect, the two innings in which the door was open allowed plenty of Foothill offense.
After Nunes retired the side in order to begin the game, he was one of six runners that would score in the bottom of the first. Five hits, including doubles from Damian Sanchez, Jake Ralston and Jesse Peraza, keyed an onslaught that seemed to have Foothill poised for a big win.
But the comeback bid by Burbank didn’t wait long, as runs from Alex Giraldo, Chance Goehner and Zackary Morales cut the lead in half in the top of the second, as Foothill committed four errors.
"[The Angels] scored 16, but we gave [a lot to] them,” Rivers said.
Still, Foothill fired right back with four runs in the second after singles by Damian Sanchez, Nunes and Kenneth Min loaded the bases.
But Ricky Sanchez entered the game in the bottom of the third and the Foothill offensive ended, while the Burbank runs kept coming.
Two more Foothill errors helped Burbank cut the lead to 10-9 in the fourth before the Angels took their first lead of the game on a Brandon Giraldo single that scooted through the center fielder and allowed Alex Giraldo and Max Meltzer to score.
Burbank tacked on five more runs in the sixth to put the game away.
Meltzer had two hits and three runs for Burbank, while Adrian Ramirez had two runs batted in, Brandon Giraldo had two hits and two runs, Ricky Sanchez had two hits and Goehner had three runs.
For Foothill, Min had two hits, Eric Yun had two RBIs and Ralston had two runs.
“We always ask them if they tried their best, that’s all we can ask them,” Rivers said, “and they always say yes.”