NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The Burbank Angels had a modest goal heading into the season — to qualify for the postseason — and they delivered on that front, defeating some high-power teams along the way.
After losing Wednesday, however, Burbank dropped down to the loser's bracket of the Major Baseball Tri-Cities Tournament of Champions, one defeat away from seeing its season end.
The Angels kept afloat with a pair of wins Thursday and Friday, including one over a team with only one loss to its credit, but the Angels could not withstand the Tujunga Dodgers on Saturday, enduring a 7-1 loss at Babe Herman Field.
With that, Burbank (20-9) closed the curtains on an otherwise successful season.
“They played really well, up until now,” Angels Coach Mike Bin said. “But baseball's like that; They're not going to play well every game.
“I'm proud of the kids, though. They fought hard, they played well all year. Unfortunately we didn't have enough to finish it.”
Three errors, in particular, proved too costly, with each of those eventually leading to runs.
The Dodgers' first baserunner got on with a full-count walk, advancing on a wild pitch and then taking home from second base on a miscue by the Angels shortstop. Tujunga closed the first inning ahead, 2-0.
With two out in the second, the Dodgers put two on base (fielder's choice, error) before Charlie Rocca crushed a three-run homer to left field for a 5-0 cushion. Mike Harmon then made it 6-0 to lead off the third, crushing a solo shot on the first pitch.
Burbank totaled four hits, but it was the final one by Adrian Ramirez that put the Angels on the scoreboard.
Ramirez smacked a double to left field in the fourth inning. He took third on a groundout as the Dodgers overthrew, paving the way for a clear path home.
Ramirez finished two for three. Max Meltzer and Erik Gonzalez each went one for three for Burbank.
All throughout, Burbank made key defensive plays to lessen the blow, particularly by stranding seven base runners, including two in scoring position to close out innings.
Angels catcher Damien Flores tagged two out at home. The second one came in the third inning, where he recovered nicely after a wild pitch.
Flores tagged a runner heading home and quickly fired it to second base to complete the double play. After that, Burbank replaced Meltzer with Gonzalez on the mound.
The first two batters got on base with a walk and hit, but Gonzalez struck out the third to close out the inning stranding two. In 3 1/3 innings, he tallied four strikeouts and allowed only one run and a walk.
That run came in the fourth, when the Dodgers sent a fly-out to center field, saving an almost-certain home run. But the Angels' outfielder couldn't heave it in time to home plate with the base runner coming in from third.
It was the last of seven runs by the Dodgers, before the Angels responded with one of their own in the bottom of that inning.
“The kids battled really well today,” Bin said. “They've hit the ball well all season and they did the best they could. I'm proud of them.
“We're the only second-place team that was still in the tournament. Everybody else is represented by their first-place team. So to get there, we had to beat some really tough teams and I thought we did well.”