The loss ends a successful season for the Indians (20-8). The team placed second in the Pacific League and achieved 20 wins for the first time in program history.
“It was just a shame that we won 20 games and we had to play a wild-card game,” Burroughs Coach Tom Crowther said. “We’re the only 20-win team playing a wild-card game.”
Crowther took a gamble against the Huskies (16-10) — who placed fourth in the Sierra League — and it paid off big time.
The coach got information that Chino Hills had six left-handed hitters and it had trouble with left-handed pitching. Short on southpaw hurlers, Crowther went with senior AJ Dupre, who had notched just three innings on the hill all season.
Dupre was more than up for the task, as he threw 4 2/3 quality innings, allowing just two hits and one run. In addition, he struck out five in an 81-pitch effort.
“AJ has been with the program for four years and he’s come up with some very big hits,” Crowther said. “But [Tuesday] I couldn’t have been more proud of the effort he had for us on the mound. He gave us a great effort.”
The lone run Dupre allowed came in the third inning, as Chino Hills was able to take a 1-0 lead.
Burroughs was able to battle back to tie the score in the fourth inning. Ray Palafox led off the inning with a stand-up double. John Schwer followed with a double to center field to put the Indians on the board.
Schwer also played a role in scoring the Indians’ second run. In the sixth inning he beat out a grounder for an infield single. He was able to score when the Chino Hills outfielder dropped a high fly ball by Nick Bozeman that scored the run.
“We hit the ball pretty good, but we hit a lot of balls right at people,” Crowther said.
Schwer was two for three with a run scored and a run batted in and Palafox was two for four with a run scored.
Burroughs needed one more out in the eighth inning to close out the game. However, Huskies’ center fielder Chris Carlson ripped a Kyle Hart pitch for a home run over the right-center field fence.
Chino Hills scored three runs in the eighth inning on two hits and an Indian error.
“It’s disappointing to lose that way, being one out away from the win,” Crowther said. “But that’s baseball. That’s the way it goes sometimes But it still hurts.”