ARCADIA — Heading into its postseason run, the Burbank Little League 10-11 All-Star baseball team has shown a flair for scoring with relative ease.
But in the event that it struggles at the plate, Burbank Manager Thomas Magoon learned Saturday that his team can still grind out a gritty win on the strength of its pitching and defense.
Burbank scored only once, but it held Sierra Madre to three hits and a walk en route to a 1-0 victory in the first round of the 10-11 Section 2 tournament at Arcadia National Little League.
With that, Burbank (4-0), the District 16 champion, advanced to the second round to play Sherman Oaks on Sunday at 4 p.m.
“We got a runner across in the first inning and that’s all we needed,” Magoon said. “We rolled through district putting up a lot of runs. We were averaging, like, 14 runs a game. But this shows what kind of team we’ve got, that we could put up a defensive battle and still win, 1-0.”
Burbank also survived a string of missed scoring opportunities. Nine Burbank players were left stranded, including four instances with runners on third base and three times in which it had runners on second and third.
Yet, Burbank still pulled through on the defensive side. It used four pitchers, though none came up bigger than Gio Zamora, who struck out three and allowed one hit and no walks in 2 2/3 innings after reliving starter Max Meltzer.
“All the pitchers came in and did what they had to do,” Magoon said. “But Gio, he shut them down.”
With one out in the first inning, Meltzer got on base by whacking a double to center-right. Carter Kessinger, in the three-hole, proceeded with a single that scored Meltzer for the go-ahead run.
Sierra Madre had two opportunities to score, but Burbank’s pitching staff came through to secure the shutout.
Burbank stranded runners on first and third to close out the third with Kessinger on the mound, and runners on second and third in the fourth with Blaine Traxel on the bump.
Traxel closed out the game, recording four strikeouts and allowing only one base runner via error in 21/3 innings.
“I thought it was pressuring,” Zamora said. “I didn’t think we had enough runs; I thought they were going to come up and get runs. But we came up with our defense and good pitching, too.”
Burbank pounded eight hits, including Kessinger’s three-for-three effort. He had two singles and a double.
Burbank’s Marc Bin, who had a double, and Chris Magoon each finished one for two. Jacob Barrera and Brandon Giaraldo each tallied a hit and a stolen base.