Burbank High's Angel Villagran tosses perfect game against Hoover
Baseball: Villagran hurls perfect game for Bulldogs in winning Pacific League opener against Tornadoes, 10-0.
Burbank High's Angel Villagran logged a perfect game against Hoover High in a 10-0 win. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Staff Photographer / March 15, 2013)
With his mind occupied on throwing strikes and staying composed in the moment, the Burbank High senior pitcher wasn’t aware of something more significant — the first perfect game of his career.
PHOTOS: Burbank vs. Hoover boys' baseball
Villagran reached the milestone when the right-hander reared back and fired a called third strike for the final out to help host Burbank post a 10-0 win against Hoover on Friday afternoon in a Pacific League opening contest for both teams that was called in the middle of the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“I knew about the no-hitter, even though I tried to not look at the scoreboard,” said Villagran, who struck out seven to improve to 2-1. “I did what I mostly had to do and that was keeping the ball on the ground.
“It’s cool [to get the no-hitter]. My legs were a little tight in the beginning of the game. I stayed focused with each pitch and I got stronger. I kept the ball down low and had good movement.”
With the win, Burbank improved to 3-3. Hoover, under first-year Coach Brian Esquival, dropped to 1-6.
Villagran struck out the side in the second and fifth innings. He got seven ground-ball outs, including a nifty play by shortstop Dylan Mersola in the fourth. Hoover’s Jonathan Ramos hit a ball up the middle. Mersola ranged to his left out behind second base and made a perfect throw to first to get Ramos by a step.
“Dylan made a good play there,” said Burbank Coach Bob Hart, whose team finished with five stolen bases. “Angel was a little stiff in the beginning and his velocity was down a bit. “Then he got stronger and had good command the rest of the way.”
Burbank, which tied for second in league with Arcadia and qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs last season, finished with 12 hits.
After the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the first on a run-scoring by John White, they scored seven runs in the third to pad the lead to 8-0.
Burbank made it 2-0 on a run-scoring ground out by Ian McKinnon. Mersola made it 3-0 with an RBI single before Angel Roman hit a two-run double just inside the left-field foul line to extend the advantage to 5-0.
A sacrifice fly to deep center by White made it 6-0. Villagran and CC Okimoto than had back-to-back run-scoring singles to complete the scoring in the inning.
McKinnon hit a lead-off home run to right to make it 9-0. The Bulldogs closed out the scoring on a run-scoring ground-out by Hector Rodriguez.
Esquival said the Tornadoes are in the process of rebuilding.
“We are a young team and we are trying to find ourselves,” Esquival said. “We need to work on our defense more and we will get back at it.
“Tip your cap [to Villagran]. He did a good job keeping us off balance.”
The teams will meet again at 3:30 p.m. April 23 at Hoover.