BURBANK- The Burroughs High baseball team hosted Malibu, ranked No. 5 in CIF-Southern Section’s Division VI, for a day-night doubleheader at Tomahawk Field on Saturday.
By the end of the day, the Indians had used a combination of timely hitting, savvy play and poor Malibu defense to sweep both ends of the twin bill from the Sharks to embark on their first win streak of the young season.
Game one ended in a bizarre sequence that gifted Burroughs a 5-4 win and dealt Malibu its first loss of the season before a 9-3 win in the second game.
In the opener, after tying the game in the bottom of the seventh on the Sharks’ third baseman’s second error of the frame, the Indians had runners on the corners when Malibu relief pitcher Andre Simoneau took his eye off his catcher’s casual throw back to him, allowing the ball to skip off his glove and the winning run to come home in the form of Aiden Anding.
“In 30 years of doing this I’ve never seen a game end on a [play like that],” Burroughs first-year coach Craig Sherwood said. “That’s the great thing about baseball and sports, you just never know what you’ll see on any given day.”
Game two of the twin bill featured a majority of Indian reserves getting a start and was a tight affair until the Indians scored seven runs in the final two innings without hitting a ball out of the infield to pull away for the 9-3 victory.
“I’m really proud of our second-unit guys because they work hard every day and, most of these kids, it’s their first game experience this year,” Sherwood said. “I’m really happy they performed well, especially under pressure. It was a tight game most of the way and they hung in there pretty well. Malibu is a good team. I like how they play ball. It shows that one to 25, we’re pretty good.”
Burroughs (3-4) trailed, 3-2, with two outs in the bottom of the fifth before Malibu reliever Miles Tade walked Kevin Navarro. Anthony Pelayo followed with a bunt single. Max Haddad, who drove in the first run of both contests, saw Navarro and Pelayo advance to second and third on a wild pitch before hitting a slow chopper up the middle. The Sharks fielded the ball, but Haddad beat out the throw to drive in the tying run and the go-ahead run then scored when the ball got away from the first baseman.
“I’m just trying to put the bat on ball when I’ve got runners on,” Haddad said. “Just trying to give the defense an opportunity to mess up, maybe.”
The Indians added five insurance runs in a sixth inning that saw two Malibu pitchers combine to walk the first five batters. The final two walks went to Chris Peres and Brandon Mersola, who got an RBI for their patience at the plate. The Indians then scored on a fielder’s choice before making two outs to bring up Haddad with the bases still loaded. The junior was then hit with a pitch to drive in his third run of the game. The final run came across when the next batter, Ronny Jimenez, hit an infield single to set the final margin.
Both of the starting pitchers in the second game allowed two runs in the opening inning. However, Burroughs starter Thomas Wilson overcame the rough start to go five innings, striking out five along the way to get his first win of the year.
Malibu (5-2) sent Declan Sheridan to the mound to start the nightcap. The freshman allowed two runs in the first inning on a fielding error by the shortstop and then a Haddad RBI single into right field before settling in and not allowing another run in his four innings of work that saw him strike out five.
Burroughs will not play again until March 24, when it will play another doubleheader in the Coachella Tournament.
“We’ve got three days there and then we come back and we start [Pacific] League,” Sherwood said. “And, you know what, it’s all about league games. All of this is just a preface to those 14 Pacific League games. If you don’t do well in those league games, nothing else matters.”