Up until the final games of the season, there was a four-way battle for the Pacific League baseball championship this season.
In the thick of the fray were Burbank and Burroughs highs, as both squads stayed in the running for the league crown until the final game of the regular season.
The Bulldogs ended up sharing the title with Crescenta Valley, earning a share of their first championship since 1991. The Indians also enjoyed a successful league campaign, finishing tied for third with Arcadia.
For their efforts, 10 players from the two city teams were honored with all-league recognition: six from Burbank and four from Burroughs.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs on the first team were senior shortstop Dylan Mersola, senior utility Ricky Perez and senior pitcher Angel Villagran. The lone first-team recipient for Burroughs is senior shortstop Brian Pozos.
Honored on the second team was senior first baseman Harrison Hernandez and senior second baseman CC Okimoto of Burbank and senior second baseman/pitcher Miles Haddad and senior pitcher/infielder Luis Pereyra of Burroughs.
Receiving honorable mention team were Bulldogs senior third baseman John White and Indians senior pitcher Daniel Barraza.
"Having guys recognized on the all-league teams is always nice and for us to get three on the first team is a nice honor for our program," said Burbank Coach Bob Hart, whose team went 18-9, 12-2 in league.
"It was the second year for Dylan to make the first team and Villagran kind of came out of nowhere. He was actually in the running for player of the year. And Ricky Perez is just a super-talented kid who could play anywhere for us."
Mersola leaves the program after putting up impressive numbers for the Bulldogs the past few seasons. This past season, he batted .333 — .385 in league — and had a .515 on-base percentage. In addition, he had 29 hits, seven doubles, 24 runs batted in, 23 runs scored and drew 21 walks.
"Dylan is a guy who has come through the program and just improved so much as a player," Hart said.
Ricky Perez batted .333 with 21 hits, six doubles, 20 runs scored, 12 RBI and a .556 slugging percentage. Villagran was 7-5 with a 1.86 earned-run average and 27 strikeouts. In the Pacific League, he was 7-2 with a 0.82 ERA.
Pozos was a steady contributor for Burroughs, as he anchored the Indians' infield.
"He definitely deserved to make the first team," said Burroughs Coach Kiel Holmes, whose team went 17-12, 10-4. "I think he was one of the top three players in the league this year. He led our team in almost every offensive category and he was really the catalyst for us all year long."
In league, Pozos had a .486 batting average with 15 RBI, 13 runs scored and also had nine stolen bases.
Hernandez and Okimoto played important roles in helping Burbank become successful. While Hernandez batted .312 with 24 hits, 23 RBI and 19 runs scored, Okimoto hit .381 with 16 hits, six RBI and eight runs scored.
Haddad and Pereyra also stepped up for the Indians. In league, Pereyra was 3-2 on the mound with two saves, a 2.03 ERA and 37 strikeouts. At the plate, he hit .285 with eight RBI and 10 runs scored. Haddad hit .326 in league and also tallied 12 RBI and 13 runs scored. As a pitcher, he was 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA and 13 strikeouts.
Making an impact for Burbank was White, who hit .318 with 21 hits, 15 RBI and 18 runs scored, while Burroughs' Barraza also did his part, notching a 4-2 record with one save, a 1.25 ERA and 41 strikeouts in league.