Burbank finally beats Crescenta Valley in delayed District 16 Major title contest

GLENDALE — It took roughly 20 hours over two days, but the Crescenta Valley and Burbank Major baseball All-Star teams were finally able to put their District 16 championship game into the record books.

The squads took to the diamond Wednesday to determine a winner less than a day after sprinklers at Babe Herman Field's went on automatically and suspended play in the sixth inning on Tuesday night.

Ultimately, behind some clutch pitching, crucial runs and a stellar defensive play, Burbank held on to its lead it built Tuesday and closed it out at the same location for a 4-2 title-clinching victory Wednesday.

"They were upbeat and ready for the challenge," Burbank Coach Giovanni Zamora said. "They played with heart and I'm proud of them."

Had Crescenta Valley rallied to win, an if-necessary game would have taken place shortly after the final out of the prolonged contest.

But Zamora's squad extended its lead with two insurance runs in the top half of the sixth, as the offense jumped on Crescenta Valley's pitching early in the count and saw just 12 pitches in the frame.

With Bryan Oasay on first, Chris Magoon singled on the first pitch he saw. Subsequent batter Brandon Giraldo was hit by a pitch, loading up the bases. Oasay then scored on a wild pitch before Max Meltzer singled home Magoon to give Burbank a 4-1 lead.

The runs kept Burbank calm when Crescenta Valley's Justyn Chang took Meltzer's first pitch and drove it over the left field fence to cut the Burbank lead to 4-2.

After a Meltzer strikeout, Eli Weber singled up the middle and to bring up the game-tying run. It looked like Crescenta Valley would have runners on first and second on a good ball hit up the middle by Jagr Proiette. Burbank second baseman Ricky Perez had other ideas, though, with a diving stop that led to a force out at second.

Meltzer struck out the next batter to close the contest out.

"That play was huge," Zamora said of Perez's quick reflexes. "It helped us out a lot. It's a different game without it."

Zamora also said the team calmed Meltzer down after Chang's home run.

"I wanted to keep it low, and not too high," said Meltzer when asked about his approach going into an extraordinary save situation.

"Thank God we scored before that," he said when asked what went through his mind after giving up the leadoff home run.

Chang started the game for Crescenta Valley, striking out nine over 5 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, the suspended championship game isn't the first of its kind for Crescenta Valley. The first episode occurred Saturday during an opening-round contest against Foothill-Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans. The game resumed Sunday with Crescenta Valley posting a 15-13 victory before suffering a 15-3 defeat against Burbank later Sunday.

"Because of how the tournament was set up, this was our fourth game in five days," Crescenta Valley Coach Tom Harbolt said. "Burbank played two games [in that span]. With the pitching rules, it could have been different, but the boys battled and we knew what we were up against in Burbank."

Harbolt voiced confidence in his 3-4-5 hitters being able to prevail from a one-run deficit after play was suspended Tuesday night, which made Burbank's two-run sixth all the more crucial.

"The two runs in the top of the sixth were tough to overcome," Harbolt said. "The boys played well, though. We're proud of them."

The win marks the first time ever a Burbank Major team has won the District 16 championship. This particular team has won three consecutive years in respective age groups, and will play in the Sectional Tournament, Saturday evening at Montrose Park.

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