Held to five hits at the plate, the Indians committed five errors while issuing 12 walks and hitting two batters en route to a 13-3 loss to the Tujunga Blackhawks in six innings Saturday at Scholl Canyon Ballfields.
“It was just a lack of energy,” Burbank Manager Sergio Ortega said. “[The players] just weren’t into it today.”
Burbank, which had previously defeated Tujunga on Wednesday, will now look to bring the title home in the if-necessary final on Monday night back at Scholl at 6:30.
“It’s alright, we’ll be back Monday,” Ortega said. “We’ll be prepared.”
With two outs in the top of the third, Burbank’s Jesse Rodriguez worked a walk before Matthew Shaugabay singled to left field for the Indians’ first hit of the day.
A bloop single to left-center field followed from Joseph Augustine to score Rodriguez for a 1-0 lead and the Indians looked to be off and running. Carter Kessinger then scored Shaugabay on an infield single that led to an error on the same play, allowing a 3-0 lead when Augustine came around to score.
Just as Burbank seemed to be playing to form, though, all its momentum waned when Tujunga rebounded to tie it with three runs in its half of the third on its way to scoring the final 13 runs of the ballgame.
“In a championship game, you gotta be ready for anything,” Ortega said. “Once the water started dripping, the floodgates just opened. Once they got going, we didn’t stop them. They just kept the momentum.”
Tujunga scored three runs in the third, five in a disastrous fourth inning (10 Tujunga batters, five walks, one hit, one hit batter, one error), two more in the fifth and finally three more in the sixth to end the game early via mercy rule, as the game, perhaps fittingly, ended when the Blackhawks scored the final run on an error at first base.
In addition to the five Burbank errors, perhaps more costly was some shaky defense that wasn’t scored as an error. For instance, a flyball single to left field in the fourth looked to be a catchable ball, but dropped down and allowed two runners to score, just as a double did to the same part of the park in the fifth, which also saw a run score from third on a short groundout to first in which the runner was never looked back and scored easily, standing up.
Furthering matters for Burbank was the absence of shortstop/pitcher Blaine Traxel, one of the Indians’ top players, who was playing summer ball for Alemany High, where he will attend high school in the fall.
Tujunga got a complete game on the mound from Blake Oasay, who allowed two earned runs, five hits, two walks and struck out four. The Blackhawks also got two hits and two runs from Nick Rolls and two hits, a walk and three runs batted in from Eric Osegura. Burbank also got hits from Jacob Barrera and Martin Estevez.
“We’ll be ready Monday,” Ortega said. “Different energy, different tempo.”
Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.