ARCADIA — In order to advance to the upcoming Division III Tournament, the Burbank 9-10 Baseball All-Stars needed to defeat a team that beat them just three days prior.
The District 16 champions lost their second-round game of the Section 2 Tournament to District 40 champion Sherman Oaks on Sunday, but found their way into the finals after getting by Quartz Hill in the loser’s bracket.
Sherman Oaks remained undefeated by clinching its spot in the finals one day earlier with the win over Burbank, setting up Tuesday’s rematch in the championship game.
Looking to force an if-necessary game and a third meeting with Sherman Oaks, Burbank fought and kept it close for three innings before giving up four runs in the fourth inning of a 9-1 victory for Sherman Oaks.
“Fourth game in four days,” said Burbank Coach Thomas Magoon after the loss at Longden Field in Arcadia. “We battled until the fourth, but fatigue set in.”
Setting fatigue aside, Burbank was at the mercy of stellar pitching and superb defense all game long.
Sherman Oaks’ starting pitcher Tyler Cox allowed just four hits and came within two outs of pitching a complete game. When Burbank managed to get runners on, the Sherman Oaks defense came up big with double plays in the third and fourth innings and a threw a runner out on the bases from right field in the fifth.
Burbank received its lone run of the game on an RBI triple by Carter Kessinger in the first inning that scored Max Meltzer and cut Sherman Oaks’ lead down to 2-1. Kessinger’s triple was the first of just two instances in the contest in which Burbank had a runner on third.
Burbank starting pitcher Blaine Traxil threw 73 pitches before giving the ball to Gio Zamora in the fifth inning with Sherman Oaks leading 6-1 thanks to a big fourth inning.
Sherman Oaks jumped on Traxil early, scoring two runs on three hits in the top half of the first.
Both pitchers made quick work of opposing batters until the fourth inning, when Sherman Oaks’ offense came alive again to the tune of four runs on five hits on just 19 pitches from Traxil.
Cox got the scoring started in the inning with a one-out double that plated Steven Richardson and Greenberg. Drew Fisk picked up Cox with another double. Then Noah Taylor brought home Fisk with a triple. Burbank allowed 15 hits.
Taylor closed the game out for Cox, who was pulled after giving up a leadoff single to Kessinger on his 74th pitch.
Offensively, Kessinger picked up two of the team’s four hits.
“We needed to be more aggressive, we weren’t swinging the bats,” Magoon said. “And when we did put runners on, we couldn’t do anything because of their defense.”
Sherman Oaks scored six of its 10 runs on two outs, including four in the sixth inning.
“We have a great bunch of kids who wear their hearts on their sleeves, but we just got tired,” Magoon said. “Give it up to them though; they are a great team who played well all tournament.”