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Late homer lifts Cubs

Baseball: Burbank Major team earns Tri-Cities title with 4-2 win against Tujunga.

June 25, 2012|By Mario Aguirre Jr

GLENDALE — Scott Breslin said he felt the weight of the moment Monday evening as he approached the batter's box for what was likely the final time this season.

It was the bottom of the fifth inning and the scored was tied. There was one out and a runner on third base. He said he felt "full of pressure" but managed to gather himself by thinking "just make contact" and the rest will take care of itself.

So when he swung at the first pitch, Breslin said "it felt good" as the ball rocketed toward center field. The two-run home run lifted the Burbank Cubs to a 4-2 victory over the Tujunga Dodgers and secured the Little League District Tri-Cities Junior Baseball Tournament crown at Babe Herman Field.

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It was the first time in 11-year history of the Burbank Little League that it won all three titles (Minor, Junior, Major) in the same season.

"Just happy, joyful, excited," Breslin said, carefully choosing his words to describe the win.

Burbank (23-2-1) had to battle from behind after a second-inning grand slam was ruled foul.

The Cubs loaded the bases with three walks, which including Breslin, who moved to third. With two outs and a 1-0 count, Anton Prather smacked a shot to right field that drifted foul. Two strikes later, the inning was over.

"Their morale kind of sunk a little bit — we had to bring them back up," Burbank Coach Michael Hooper said. "So we got them motivated again. We got them focused on winning, focused on playing hard, staying with our game. And that's what we've done all year — battle. We just keep battling and never give up."

The Dodgers (23-8) carried that moment over into the third. They led off with a walk and hit, and moved a runner into scoring position following a wild pitch. The Cubs' shortstop then bobbled a ball hit by Aurelio Colon. Colon drove in both runners for a 2-0 advantage.

Yet, Burbank responded in similar fashion in the fourth, when it used two walks and two wild pitches to get runners to second and third.

Following that letdown, Tujunga made a pitching change that resulted in consecutive strikeouts. But Blaine Traxel hit a two-run RBI double to knot the score at 2.

Traxel continued to deliver in the top of the fifth, retiring all three batters as the Dodgers prepared to take the lead. He finished with eight strikeouts and allowed three hits and two walks.

In the bottom of the inning, Burbank's Mulder Paredes led off with a double to right field. Then, with one out, Breslin came through with the heroic homer.

"Perfect timing," Hooper said. "He's a powerhouse hitter, when he does make contact. And he came through with a clutch hit, clutch home run.

"I give the team a lot of [credit]. They all play hard, they all play together. And like I said, they never give up."

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