Clinging to a tie late in the game on the road, the Burbank High baseball team was hoping to stay close until its offense came up with a spark.
But in the Bulldogs’ CIF Southern Section Division II wild-card game Tuesday afternoon, it was opponent Claremont catching fire, while Burbank was helpless to snuff it out.
Burbank starting pitcher Andrew Hernandez took a one-run tie game into the sixth, where the Wolfpack struck for five runs to secure a 6-1 victory.
“We got hit around a little bit,” said Burbank Coach Bob Hart, who saw Hernandez surrender four runs before Angel Villagran and Daniel Starkand each allowed one in relief. “There were a couple of timely hits on their part. Defensively [it was] nothing, the wheels didn’t come off or anything like that, it was just a couple hits here, a couple hits there, a walk, and it kind of broke it open a little bit.”
The Bulldogs were held to just two hits, one of them being a solo home run from Paul Frias in the second inning that gave Burbank an early lead. Claremont (14-11-2), which finished with 11 hits, would even the score in the bottom half, though, forging a tie that lasted for the next three frames.
“It was nip and tuck the whole way,” Hart said.
Burbank wrapped up the season at 13-10 and enjoyed its best season in league play (Foothill or Pacific) in 20 years (10-4 for a second-place tie), according to Hart.
“They were by far the best character group I’ve ever had,” said Hart, whose team finished out of the playoffs last season. “It’s a good legacy for them to move forward with. They really built a foundation for us.”