GLENDALE — Brandon Martinez arrived on the doorstep of pitching a complete game for the Burbank Junior baseball All-Star team.
PHOTOS: Crescenta Valley vs. Burbank junior baseball
Unfortunately for the right-hander, he came within one out of accomplishing the feat before surpassing the tournament-imposed 95-pitch count. While he wasn't able to go the distance, he helped Burbank get even in the best-of-three District 16 Tournament against Crescenta Valley on Monday night.
Martinez went 6 2/3 innings and struck out seven to propel Burbank to a 7-1 win in the tournament's championship contest.
Burbank and Crescenta Valley will compete in the if-necessary title game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Scholl. The winner will advance to the Section 2 Tournament, which will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday against the District 51 champion at Dunsmore Park in La Crescenta.
"I really wanted to get the complete game, but it's more important that we have a chance to win Wednesday," said Martinez, who didn't allow a run after the first inning. "We knew what we needed to do.
"I was able to go out there and hit my spots. My curve ball worked well. It's great to know we still have a chance to win it all."
Burbank bounced back nicely after it suffered an 8-6 defeat against Crescenta Valley on Sunday at Tujunga Little League Fields. It scored six runs in the second inning on Monday, providing Martinez with plenty of breathing room. Erik Gonzalez got the final out on one pitch.
It was the kind of effort Burbank Manager Sergio Ortega sought from Martinez, who yielded five hits.
"I went out there twice in the seventh to talk to him," Ortega said. "The first time, we knew he was getting to the threshold with the pitching count, but he said he wanted to stay in there.
"The second time, I had to take him out. We knew what the rules were. He did an outstanding chance."
Crescenta Valley grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a run-scoring double by Drew Atherton. Martinez would then handcuff Crescenta Valley the remainder of the way.
Burbank scored six runs in the second to take a 6-1 lead. Gonzalez tied it at 1 with a run-scoring ground-rule double to right field. Kaydon Spears then hit a ground ball that rolled under the glove of the second baseman for an error to score a pair of runs to make it 3-1.
Scott Breslin then hit a two-run home run to center to pad the advantage to 5-1 before Burbank closed out the scoring on an error by the shortstop.
Burbank made it 7-1 in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Casey Cromie.
Crescenta Valley Coach Bryan Rich credited Martinez, who had two singles, for sparking Burbank.
"Their pitcher did a great job," Rich said. "He got ahead in the count a lot and threw his pitches for strikes.
"We just have to now take a deep breath and relax. We will come back Wednesday and be fine. I think it will be a good game."
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich.