BURBANK - If someone wanted to know what Wednesday’s game between the Burroughs High and Burbank baseball teams meant to the Indians, all they had to do was ask Indians catcher Chris Peale.
The senior was vacationing in Arizona when he discovered that the Indians would be playing the Bulldogs in a first-round contest of the Valley Invitational Baseball League playoffs, and he was not going to miss the game.
Peale drove back to Burbank on Wednesday morning just for the chance to take on the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs might have wished he stayed in Arizona.
Peale had four hits, a pair of runs batted in and scored twice to lead Burroughs to an 8-3 victory at Burbank High.
“That alone says what type of ballclub we have,” Burroughs Coach Eddie Alvarez said.
Burroughs pounded a pair of Burbank pitchers for 12 hits and had three hurlers limit the Bulldogs to just three hits.
Peale and Eli Pepmueller led the offense. Pepmueller was two for four with two runs scored and he also drove in two. Eight of the nine Burroughs starters reached base at least once, and Ryan Gordan, Tyler Beauregard, Zander Anding and Matt Kelsey each scored once.
“The style of Burroughs baseball has changed,” Alvarez, a first-year coach, said. “We’re going to be aggressive at every aspect of the game. On defense and on offense.”
Burroughs did most of its damage in the fourth inning when it plated five runs on three hits and an error that accounted for two of those runs.
Four of the first five Indians reached base – only one on a hit, with the others coming on a hit batsman, a walk and an error. The error, by Burbank’s third baseman, allowed Gordan and Beauregard to score the first two runs of the inning. After a fly out, Peale lined a single to center to score two before Christian Garia added the capper with a two-run double to left.
“This has to be a learning experience,” Burbank Coach Bob Hart said. “We need to learn to get over the hump. Burroughs has been the big dog for a while. I feel like that’s about to change. It didn’t change [Wednesday].”
Hart said Burbank also needs to learn to hit with runners in scoring position.
Burbank was one of 18 with a runner on base and one of 15 with a Bulldog in scoring position, stranding runners at third in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings. Its lone hit with a runner on base was in the seventh inning, when – with Burroughs leading, 8-1 – Harrison Hernandez had a single to left. Ian McKinnon, Paul Frias and Andrew Hernandez each scored for Burbank in the seventh.
“We had missed opportunities,” Hart said. “They deserved to win.”
Burroughs’ Luis Pereya (four innings), Zane Carey (two) and Steward Alexander (one) combined on the impressive pitching performance, striking out nine and allowing no earned runs.
The trio hopes to be a part of an Indians squad that is setting high expectations for the 2012 campaign.
“We want to beat CV, Arcadia and Burbank,” Peale said. “We want the league title. If we play like this in every game, we can do it.”
Hours later, Peale was off to Hawaii with his family for another vacation.