ARCADIA — Facing elimination in the Section 2 Tournament on Monday, the Burbank 10-11 Baseball All-Star team had to go with ace pitcher Blaine Traxel.
Fortunately for Burbank, it was able to pick up a victory to stay alive on a solid outing by Traxel. Unfortunately, the locals had to go into Tuesday’s championship contest with their star hurler unable to take the mound because of Little League limitations placed on pitchers.
As a result, the Sherman Oaks hitters feasted on a trio of Burbank pitchers, and when the dust cleared, Burbank had absorbed a 15-0 loss at Longden Field that ended its season.
The scheduled six-inning game was called after four innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Tuesday’s contest was a rematch of a second-round tournament matchup between the two squads Sunday. In that game, Sherman Oaks rolled to an 11-1 victory.
“I think we could have had a 12-year-old pitcher and they would have still hit us,” said Burbank Manager Tom Magoon, whose team won the District 16 title. “They are a very good hitting team and their hitters are just so good with two strikes. I think they purposely wait to get two strikes because that’s when they seem to come alive. No matter where you pitched them, inside, outside, up and down, they were able to hit the ball.”
Magoon said in the wake of Sunday’s result against Sherman Oaks, he realized his squad would have a tough time in the championship contest.
“We looked at [Monday’s] game as our championship,” he said. “We knew what we were dealing with, the monster that is Sherman Oaks, and our goal was to win Monday and get to the championship game.”
Along with its 15 runs, Sherman Oaks hammered out 17 hits, had two home runs and tallied three doubles, as well as taking advantage of five walks.
Sherman Oaks touched up Burbank starting pitcher Carter Kessinger for the only runs they would need on the afternoon, pushing across two in the top of the first inning.
“Carter really didn’t pitch that badly,” Magoon said. “He was hitting his spots. They were just going with it. I have to give them credit for some very good hitting.”
Sherman Oaks tacked on three runs in the second inning, as the game didn’t seem out of reach yet for Burbank.
But that changed in the third inning. Sherman Oaks enjoyed a monumental rally, bringing 13 players to the plate and scoring eight runs on eight hits. The inning featured a three-run home run by pinch hitter Jacob Robbins and a solo homer by R.J. Schrel.
With a 13-0 advantage, it appeared that Sherman Oaks was a team that wasn’t going to be denied in its quest to win the Section 2 championship.
Sherman Oaks starting pitcher Noah Taylor allowed just two Burbank hits, both coming on players legging out grounders in the infield. The left-hander went the distance, striking out five.
The two Burbank hits came from Kessinger in the second inning and Jacob Barrera in the fourth.
Burbank put just one runner in scoring position in the game. With two out in the fourth, Barrera reached first on a hit and went to second on a passed ball. However, he was left stranded when the next Burbank batter struck out.
Kessinger led off the second with a single. But he was doubled off the bag on a nifty leaping play by the Sherman Oaks second baseman, who flipped the ball to first for a double play.
Brandon Giraldo was the only other Burbank batter to reach base, as he drew a walk in the first.