ARCADIA — The Burbank High baseball team has had a definite flair for the dramatic this week.
In a Pacific League game Tuesday against Pasadena, the Bulldogs had to claw their way back from a seven-run deficit to salvage a victory.
On Friday in a league contest against Arcadia, Burbank again found itself trailing — this time by two runs — headed into the final two innings. Undaunted, Burbank again mounted a spirited comeback, scoring two runs in the sixth inning to tie the score and two more in the seventh to pull out a 4-2 win against the host Apaches.
The win was an important one for Burbank (9-7, 4-1 in league) in a league race that is turning into a thrilling battle. With a 5-0 win against Glendale on Friday, Burroughs (11-7, 5-0) remains in first place in league with the Bulldogs and Crescenta Valley (12-6, 4-1) — a 7-0 winner Friday against Pasadena — tied for second. Arcadia (12-6, 3-2) dropped to fourth a game ahead of Pasadena.
"We don't talk about it at all," Burbank Coach Bob Hart said about the tight league race. "We just try and take it game by game and we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We just have to keep plugging away."
After tying the game at 2 with two runs in the sixth inning, Burbank took advantage of an error to score the winning run in the seventh. With one out, pinch hitter Sebby Santoro reached base on an error by the Arcadia third baseman, as the ball bounced off his chest and he wasn't able to make a throw. Ian McKinnon followed with a single to left field. But the Bulldogs found themselves down to their final out after a strikeout.
Things got a lot brighter for Burbank, however, when the next batter, Dylan Mersola, roped an 0-1 pitch through the left side to score the eventual winning run. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Hector Rodriguez drew a walk to score another run.
"I was just trying to do what I do in every at-bat; find a good pitch to hit," said Mersola of the game-winning hit off Arcadia starting pitcher Austin Georgen. "He was kind of jamming me inside the whole time, so I kind of knew what was coming when he threw that last ball."
The Bulldogs were kept in the game with fine defense and a strong effort on the mound by starter Angel Villagran. The hurler gave up two runs in the first inning and surrendered just one hit in six innings. He also struck out three. Rickey Perez threw one inning of relief, striking out one and inducing two ground outs.
Mersola came up with a dandy fielding play in the third inning that saved a run. With Arcadia ahead, 2-0, Brandon Toy walked and advanced to third on consecutive fielder's choices. With Fernando Rosales at the plate, he roped a hard, sinking liner close to Mersola at shortstop. Mersola went airborne, snagged the ball on a bounce, sprung to his feet and fired a bullet to first to just nip Rosales.
Mersola also made a fine diving stab in the fourth inning and Burbank turned a 5-4-3 double play in the sixth.
"Overall I thought we did a pretty good job," Hart said. "We played catch tonight and we put the ball in play in key situations. That was key for us."
Burbank scored runs in the sixth inning on a double by Harrison Hernandez (two for four with a walk) and a fielder's choice by Rodriguez.
Arcadia had two runs in the first on just one hit.