BURBANK -- It wasn’t so much that the Burbank High baseball team surrendered three runs on five hits in the opening inning that concerned Coach Bob Hart on Monday. Such a deficit is still manageable that early in the game.
Instead, Hart wanted to see how his Bulldogs would bounce back from such adversity. But Valencia remained strong and Burbank could do little to stop it.
So, with an 8-3 loss to Vikings in the second round of the Valley Invitational Baseball League playoffs, the Bulldogs wrapped up summer play with a 14-7 record.
“I don’t want to say nerves, but the inability to make a play or two kind of snowballed against us,” Hart said. “It’s just tough to bounce back from a couple errors. We’ve been pretty good playing catch-up all summer, the year before as well.
“I talked to the guys after the first inning, and their response is everything. And I don’t think we responded as well as we’re capable of.”
Burbank gave up five consecutive hits to open the game, as the Vikings (12-10-1) took a 3-0 lead. It started with a triple, a single off the center-field wall, a base hit that eluded the shortstop, a shot to right and another ball that scurried pass second base.
On the other end, Burbank mustered five hits in the game against Valencia’s J.D. Busfield. The senior-to be, who’s already committed to Loyola University, struck out three and allowed one earned run and two walks in seven innings.
“J.D. was pretty dominant,” Valencia Coach Jared Snyder said. “We knew they were a pretty good team; they had a pretty good summer. So we knew we had to pitch well and had to play catch very well to beat them. We had some very good at-bats in critical situations. I thought we were very patient, and we did a good job within our bats and executed the game very well.”
The Vikings opened the second inning by getting four straight on base (three via hits), before the Bulldogs plucked Shaun Troy from the mound.
Still, Burbank trailed, 6-1, by the end of the second inning. After the third, it was 8-2.
“We were hitting some balls hard at people, but they weren’t getting through, Hart said. “That’s kind of the funny part of this game: you check swing, you hit a double; hit the ball hard and you’re out. But overall, [we were] outplayed. And we didn’t play our best game.
“Some games just aren’t going to go our way.”
Dylan Mersola scored a run in the opening inning to trim the deficit, 3-1.
He got on base with a walk, stole second and then scored on Harrison Hernandez’s single off the wall.
Angel Villagran also got on base via a walk in the fourth inning. He took second and third on a couple groundouts and then scored on an error on Valencia’s third baseman to make it 8-2.
But with six weeks off before the team reconvenes, Hart said he was encouraged by the play of his incoming players and underclassmen.
“Definitely looking forward to next season,” he said. “We have a tremendous group of character guys with great work ethic, so it’s only going to get better for us.”