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Tribe on the right track

Baseball: New coach and a reinvigorated program paying off with Burroughs victories in summer.

June 15, 2011|By Jeremy Curtis, Special to the Leader

GRANADA HILLS — It's happening already.

All early signs point to a Burroughs High baseball program that's back on the rise.

The Indians were dealt a significant setback in March, when the team was caught in the midst of an alleged underage drinking scandal involving a number of players.

The remainder of the season was canceled.

On April 18, former coach J.R. Schwer and his staff were fired by the school, which determined an assistant coach allegedly provided players beer during a tournament trip to Arizona.

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But during Monday's game against Granada Hills High, there were no indications of a team shaken by substantial disciplinary action and a recent overhaul in leadership.

The Indians got off to a rough start, but rallied their way to a convincing 8-2 win.

Under the guidance of new Coach Eddie Alvarez, Burroughs has gotten off to a 4-0 start in summer league play.

"It's huge," Alvarez said of the hot start. "Everybody says, 'Oh, it's just summer ball.' But you know what? Winning builds confidence. This would be a lot different club right now if we were 0-4. The attitude would be a lot different."

His job is one of righting a wronged ship, and he's doing so with noticeable positive enthusiasm.

"If we were to go 0-14 this summer, people would be asking for my head," Alvarez remarked with candor. "We got to turn the page from last season. The administration has been great to me. The parents have been awesome. They're really behind what we're going to do. If I didn't have the backing of the administration and the parents, I wouldn't be here. That's the reason I went after this because I knew I would have that."

The players are responding under the new coach.

"I feel like last year was our year to shine," said first baseman Chris Peale, a rising senior. "But I feel like this year we click more. I feel like this 4-0 start is going to lead on to more and more."

Against Granada Hills (0-4), Peale went three for four, with three singles, two runs batted in and a run scored.

"He's really been smacking the ball around," Alvarez said.

Teammate Stewart Alexander finished three for three, including three singles, an RBI and two runs scored.

"Stewart's bat has been picking up in the last two or three games," Alvarez said.

Alexander also noted how Burroughs is playing with cohesiveness in the early going of the Alvarez era, though the bond has been in the works for years.

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