BURBANK — After winning their respective league championships in the spring, the Burbank High and La Cañada baseball teams have similar plans for the summer.
With both programs having graduated multiple key players, the Bulldogs and Spartans are in search for suitable replacements to fill holes around the diamond.
Several athletes are taking full advantage of the opportunity, including Burbank shortstop Cameron Briggs.
Briggs had two hits and drove in two runs Monday to help host Burbank record a 10-1 win against La Cañada in a Valley Invitational Baseball League contest.
“It’s about taking advantage of any opportunity I can get,” said Briggs, a junior-to-be who was called up for Burbank’s CIF Southern Section Division II playoff run in May. “You want to go out there and put in the work and I’m trying to get bigger and faster.”
Burbank, which shared the Pacific League title with Crescenta Valley, lost 16 players to graduation. La Cañada, which took first in the Rio Hondo League, graduated 10.
The Bulldogs (1-3) finished with 13 hits, including four bunt singles. The Spartans (0-4) collected five hits.
Burbank Coach Bob Hart said the Bulldogs are examining all available options in looking for some of their players to gain valuable experience.
“We are getting them to understand the speed of the game at the varsity level,” Hart said. “We are focusing on things like bunting and defensive fundamentals.
“We are looking to build a foundation now and they can work more on their swings in the fall and winter. You’ve got to produce. Production gets you on the field and keeps you on the field.”
Burbank scored two runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Camden Palmisano laid down a bunt single to drive in a run to make it 1-0 before an infield single to first by Eddie Talamontes made it 2-0.
Burbank’s Sam McKinnon had a two-run single in the second to extend the advantage to 4-0. McKinnon finished the game with a game-high three hits, all singles.
The Spartans sliced the deficit to 4-1 on a run-scoring single to right by Matt Pasion in the third.
Burbank scored two runs in the fourth to make it 6-1. A double play made it 5-1 before Palmisano’s run-scoring single made it 6-1.
Briggs had a two-run single in the fifth to highlight a four-run surge for the Bulldogs. Briggs’ hit gave Burbank a 9-1 lead.
Burbank also got two hits each from Alex Minnick, Palmisano and Talamontes.
La Cañada Coach Alex Valadez said the Spartans are looking to further develop their players.
“We are trying to do a little bit of everything,” said Valadez, who got a pair of hits from Johnny Selsor. “We’ve got some returners, but some of them were not here for different reasons.
“We need to develop some of the new kids. They’ll take their lumps, but they will also get better. You always use the summer to learn. You need to be able to earn your spot. Here’s the opportunity for them.”