By Austin Green
Burbank pitchers Ian Schenk and Ryan King combined for a complete-game shutout and King scored the game’s only run on a delayed double steal in the sixth inning as the Bulldogs handed Crescenta Valley its first league loss at home in a 1-0 pitchers’ duel at Stengel Field on Tuesday night.
The win tied Burbank with Crescenta Valley for second place in the Pacific League standings entering Friday’s game between the two schools at Burbank. It also got the Bulldogs back on track after two 10-run losses to Pacific League-leading Arcada the week prior.
“We really wanted to bounce back from a couple bad games that were not indicative of what we were about,” Burbank head coach Robert Hart said. “We’ve won a number of one-run games this year; we’ve shown a tendency to do that. That grinding it out, never surrendering attitude really goes a long way for us.”
CV starting pitcher Brendon Pehar allowed only one run on three hits in 5.1 innings, but it was a four-pitch leadoff walk to King in the sixth inning that ultimately cost him. After Pehar gave up a one-out single to designated hitter Devin LeClair two batters later, CV manager Phil Torres pulled him for reliever Noah Maddox, making his first appearance after missing several weeks due to injury.
With second baseman Daniel Neria at the plate, Burbank pinch runner Sam Leklyan got enough of a lead for Maddox to throw to first base, only to have Leklyan take off for second. CV first baseman Jameson Ferraro threw to second base, nabbing Leklyan but the play allowed King to score from third. Torres said afterwards that it was a “poor play” that will be addressed in practice.
“Brendon deserved a lot better, and we got him nothing,” Torres said. “He did a good job.”
CV had scoring opportunities in the fourth and sixth innings with two runners on, one out and CV’s R.J. DeLeon at the plate. In the fourth, DeLeon hit a line drive that was run down and caught by center fielder Joshua DiPietro, who then doubled off Luca Cueno at second base to end the inning. In the sixth, DeLeon swung at the first pitch he saw from King, just into the game to relieve Schenk, and grounded it up the middle where shortstop Wyatt LaMarsna, who turned an easy double play.
“That was huge,” Schenk said. “Ryan’s a great pitcher; he always gets us out of jams. Always. And we have a great defense.”
The Falcons caught another unlucky break when Pehar attempted to go first to third on a two-out single by Jacob Deno in the second inning, but tripped after rounding second and was tagged out. Still, Torres was not one for excuses.
“It’s hard to win when you only get three hits,” Torres said. “A couple times we didn’t execute, and we didn’t execute the first and third defense. You can’t win games when you don’t do that stuff.”
The CV-Burbank series finale on Friday finished after the Leader’s press deadline. CV will play Arcadia next week while Burbank faces intracity rival John Burroughs.