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Burbank-area baseball teams take swing at success

Burbank, Burroughs, Providence are hoping to add to success they enjoyed last season. Bell-Jeff has a new coach and a seasoned captain.

March 01, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: The Burbank Bulldogs (13-10) lost some key players to graduation, including first-team all-league pitcher Daniel Starkand, who was 5-3 with a 0.60 earned-run average in 58 innings pitched in league.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: The Burbank Bulldogs (13-10) lost some… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

The Burbank High baseball team got a taste of what it takes to compete with the top teams in the Pacific League last season.

The Bulldogs tied for second place with Arcadia and were competitive with champion Crescenta Valley.

“What we were able to accomplish last season and how we played in league, that is something that we’re looking to build on,” Burbank Coach Bob Hart said. “We are looking to continue that success in league and hopefully carry that over to the playoffs.”

Providence is also coming off a successful year after taking a season off from Liberty League competition. Burroughs returns a solid group from last season’s playoff squad and Bellarmine-Jefferson is adapting with a small squad under the direction of a new coach.

Here is a closer look at the teams.

BURBANK

The Bulldogs (13-10) did lose some key players to graduation. That included first-team all-league pitcher Daniel Starkand, who was 5-3 with a 0.60 earned-run average in 58 innings pitched in league. He surrendered just eight runs (five unearned) and had five shutouts. In addition, he had 41 strikeouts and walked 12. The team also lost all-league catcher Paul Frias (.263 with 15 hits, 11 runs batted in, 12 runs scored and 10 stolen bases).

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“We have a very good group and we return a lot of starters from last season,” Hart said. “We have guys out there who know what they’re doing and that makes for some good practices.”

One of the key returners is first-team all-league standout Dylan Mersola. Last season, the shortstop batted .403 with 27 hits, six doubles, 14 RBI, 12 walks and an on-base percentage of .500. He also stole 13 bases in 14 attempts.

“In my years of coaching I have never named a team captain because I feel it leads to separation,” Hart said. “But if I had to make someone captain for the first time it would be Dylan.”

Also returning to bolster the Burbank offense is senior outfielder Ricky Perez, who hit .323 with 20 hits, 16 runs scored, 12 RBI, 17 walks and nine stolen bases.

Playing first for the Bulldogs will be Harrison Hernandez, John White will be at third, the catchers will be Hector Rodriguez and Sam McKinnon and Chris Okimoto and Joe Bogenschutz will be at second base. Joining Perez in the outfield will be Ian McKinnon, Sebby Santoro and Angel Roman.

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