ARCADIA — After scoring just two runs in its first two games of the Section 2 Tournament, the Burbank 10-11 All-Star baseball team figured something had to change.
With a couple of breaks, Burbank found out what it’s like to put up crooked numbers Monday afternoon.
Burbank scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings to post a 7-4 victory against Quartz Hill in an elimination game at Longden Field. Burbank, the District 16 champion, will meet Sherman Oaks in the tournament’s championship game at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the same site. An if-necessary title contest would take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Longden.
Joe Metcalf came up in the top of the fourth with the bases loaded and two outs and Burbank trailing, 3-1. Longden hit what appeared to be a routine grounder to second, but the ball skipped over the glove of the Quartz Hill infielder to knot the game at 3.
“It was just nice to get a hit there and help the team win,” said Metcalf, who came into the game as a substitute. “I had to go up there and take control of the situation.
“We started to get some hits and we capitalized on some mistakes. It paid off.”
Burbank opened the tournament Saturday with a 1-0 victory against Sierra Madre. It then suffered an 11-1 defeat against Sherman Oaks on Sunday.
Burbank Manager Thomas Magoon said his team encountered some tough luck in the first two games, but liked the way it bounced back Monday.
“We’d been hitting the ball, but right at people,” said Magoon, whose squad finished with eight hits and got a splendid effort from relief pitcher Blaine Traxel. “We found out what it’s like to string together some hits and get some runs.
“We were good at taking advantage of their mistakes.”
After Metcalf knotted the game at 3 and moved to second, Max Meltzer singled to left to bring home Metcalf to make it 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth.
Burbank extended its lead to 7-3 in the fifth. Jacob Barrera opened with a walk and reached second on a ball hit by Brandon Giraldo to the shortstop, who booted in for an error. Traxel then singled to left — his third hit of the game — but the ball skipped past the left fielder for an error and two runs to extend the advantage to 6-3. After a relay throw home to try to nab Giraldo failed, the catcher then threw the ball back to left field for an error that allowed Traxel to score.
Quartz Hill scored two runs in the first on a pair of bases-loaded walks with two outs. Traxel came in relief and struck out the next batter to minimize the damage. Traxel went the rest of the way, recording four strikeouts and limiting Quartz Hill to four hits.
“I had to rely on my fastball,” said Traxel, a right-hander.
Burbank trimmed the deficit to 2-1 in the second when Giraldo scored on a wild pitch.
Quartz Hill took a 3-1 lead in the third on a long solo home run by Joey Bigelow off Traxel.
Magoon said Burbank will attempt to regroup against Sherman Oaks.
“Sherman Oaks hits the ball real well,” Magoon said. “I expect us to hit, and I have faith in them.”