Bits and pieces from the local sports scene.

Burbank football team comes back in tournament: Despite dropping its first game in the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation flag football championship, the Burbank Fighting Irish battled back.

Following the loss, the team of fifth- and sixth-graders won the next three games in the competition Dec. 17-18 in Pasadena to capture the consolation title, finishing with a 3-1 record.

Competing against teams from around Southern California, the Burbank Fighting Irish opened the tournament with an 8-0 loss to Oxnard.

The team rebounded and played strongly in the next three games to beat teams from Bakersfield, Commerce and Pasadena.

Before qualifying for the Southern California championship, the Fighting Irish won the a division title in the Burbank Parks, Recreation and Community Services league, going undefeated.

Burbank then participated in the SCMAF San Gabriel Valley tournament and finished in third place with a record of 2-1. Overall, the Fighting Irish had a successful season and finished with a record of 20-2.

The team is comprised of players from St. Francis Xavier and Thomas Jefferson elementary schools. Team members include: Joseph Augustine, Lachlan Charles, Cole Doyle, Brandon Giraldo, Dele Hospideles, Chris Mai, Dawson Mann, Chase Marcy, Matthew Porras, Nathan Priestley, Jesse Rodriguez, Mike Romagnino, Patrick Shashaty, Jonathan Topete and Joe Whelan. The team's coaches are Chris Augustine, Hal Mann and Brian Priestley.

Resident graduates golf academy: Burbank's Kyle Borggrebe joined 69 fellow students from the San Diego's Golf Academy of America to earn associate degrees in golf complex operations and management during graduation ceremonies on Dec. 16. The San Diego graduating class was composed of students from 15 states, Canada and Malaysia.

"These students put in a lot of hard work and all of them are now well prepared to step into golf career opportunities anywhere in the country," said Rich Iorio, campus director of the Myrtle Beach Golf Academy of America in a statement. "Our students are some of the best trained and most knowledgeable golf career professionals in the industry. When they leave Golf Academy of America, they are recognized as the future golf professionals who will lead this industry."

The GAA is the largest and longest-running two-year golf career college in the world and prepares graduates for a wide array of golf career opportunities in the $76 billion a year industry. Golf Academy of America is an accredited golf course management school offering a comprehensive curriculum of golf instruction and business management. The 16-month program balances classroom studies, practical experience and a comprehensive understanding of both the game and the business of golf.

The GAA boasts a fine track record of career placement for graduates for opportunities including: golf teaching professionals, tournament organizers, club managers and owners, golf manufacturing representatives, product development specialists and golf professionals at golf-related companies, among many other golf career options.

Burroughs players lend a hand: A group of athletes from the Burroughs High baseball program dedicated their time Dec. 17 to help put together care packages for military service personnel.

The players donated their time at the California Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys as part of Operation Gratitude, which donates packages for Americans serving in the military. Operation Gratitude conducts its Assembly Drives at the venue and than 14,000 local volunteers participate on-site.

Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that annually sends 100,000 care packages and letters of support to U.S. military deployed in harm's way and to Wounded Warriors recovering in transition units. Special "Battalion Buddy" packages with stuffed animals are sent to the children of deploying troops.

Operation Gratitude's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to the armed forces and their families the appreciation and support of the American people.

Jeff Tully