There would not be an advanced baseball season on the peninsula without Serra traveling to Burlingame for the annual non-league, Friday night, showdown at Washington Park.
The many in attendance – thanks to the fact that Washington Park was not part of the Burlingame campus, but a public park – definitely got their money’s worth when the two teams fought for extra innings.
And while it took 10 laps for the bats to wake up, in the end Serra Padres (6-0) finally did what Serra Padres did, gathering for six races at the top of the 10th to claim a 7-4 victory over Burlingame (5 -2).
“Well, honestly, practice makes perfect,” said Serra senior Pablo Ossio. “In situations like this, I like to think of Babe Ruth. He said: ‘Every strike, I get closer to a home run.’ So in this situation you bounce back. ”
Although it was not a game-winning home run that Ossio gave, it certainly felt like one when the left-handed hitting senior went to the plate with the bases loaded, scored locked to 1-1 at the top of the tenth and rope a clear signal on the left field to score Thomas Gould.
“As a leftist, a lot of guys say leftists can’t beat the other way,” Ossio said. “But I like to prove them wrong. That has been my strength. ”
Gould started the hit parade when he led the round with a solid double down the left field line. Then, back to back to load the bases, Ossio triggered the RBI parade. Connor Dorgan followed with a two-run single. Then DJ Ghiorso and Patrick Keighran produced RBI beats.
Burlingame did not go quiet at the bottom of the inning though. The Panthers loaded the bases with back-to-back singles by Keunho Kim and Lou Martineau, followed by a trip to Johnny Suarez. Kim scored on a wild course. Then with two outs, Jacob Cilia scorched a two-run double to the left.
But Serra right-hander Will Pires stepped in to put out the rally, recording the save – and fittingly – on a night that, apart from the 10th lap, featured outstanding pitching on both sides.
Burlingame starter Noah Larkin worked 6/3 innings, earning an animated high-five from manager Shawn Scott as he traveled out of the middle of the seventh. Larkin had just produced a strike by Keighran with runners in the corners and one out, before passing the ball to reliever Josh Coleman, who induced a quick flyout to escape the jam.
Serra starter Jack Brownfield was solid through 3 1/3 innings. And defender Ryan Beck went further than he probably thought he had to, working 5/3 innings to earn the win.
But it was the arm of center fielder Joey Lee who stole the show. It was the senior’s help throw to cut down Cilia at the plate at the bottom of the sixth inning that drove the game to extra innings. It was Burlingame’s biggest threat at night after Cilia reached a double down the right field line. Jake Caprini followed with a sharp single to center that looked like it could give the Panthers the lead.
But Lee had something to say about it with a laser beam of throw to catcher Nico Button, who inflicted a sweet swipe mark just to get Cilia on a bang-bang game on the plate.
“I saw it was in line,” Lee said. “So I saw that we had a chance. And if we could get it, it would be great for us. ”
And the emotional swing for Serra was huge.
“I was so pumped,” Lee said. “The team was pumped. Everyone was pumped. ”
Serra drew the first blood in the fifth. PK Walsh covered the table with a leadoff double. After a bundled single by Ghiorso, Will Bowen – who was 4 on 5 with one turn – gave an infield single to score Walsh, giving the Padres a 1-0 lead.
But Burlingame stole a race in the sixth. With runners first and third, and two out, Taylor Kaufman first broke out for second with the pitcher, Coleman, still on the stretch. The tactic worked when Coleman went off the mound and ran towards Kaufman, but some clever base run induced a kind of pickle. And when the shortstop muffled the throw from Coleman, Kim asked for third home with the tiebreaker.
This year’s matchup marked the first between Serra and Burlingame since 2018. Burlingame has not beaten Serra since 2012, when the Panthers escaped with a 1-0 victory.