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The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

Varsity baseball drops first game to non-league opponent Serra

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Zachary Newman
Senior Neil Girdhar stands in the batter’s box and awaits the next pitch from the Padres ace.

When varsity baseball (5-2) walked off the field after their disappointing loss to Serra High School on Friday, March 8, some players hugged their families. Some put away their gear, defeated. But most of them simply sighed and muttered, “Every year.”

They didn’t need to say more. The reference was clear — just another year added to the Padres’ long win streak against the Panthers on the diamond, spanning back to 2012. 

And it’s not like it’s been an occasional matchup. The two squads have faced off seven times over the past eleven years, and Serra has won every game, by an average of over five runs. 

In fact, it was the Padres who ended Burlingame’s season just last May in the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs, beating the Panthers 10-4. 

So when Burlingame took the field before the first pitch, they had revenge on their minds — and the confidence that this year’s squad could take down a team that has owned them for over a decade. 

But even Burlingame’s most valiant effort and a heroic performance on the mound from senior Luca Scatena wasn’t enough, as Serra hung on to defeat the Panthers 1-0. 

The game’s only run came in the top of the second inning when the Padres took advantage of a leadoff single and a few walks. A bases-loaded, one-out sacrifice fly gave Serra the lead. 

After that, Scatena, in his third start of the season, shut down the remaining batters he faced, giving up no hits and walking two. 

The Panthers committed two errors, which Scatena was able to work around. But they did make some nice plays in the field. Senior catcher Will Robbins ended the top of the fourth inning when he threw out a Serra base runner trying to steal second base. Senior Jackson Howard made a spectacular catch of his own in the sixth inning. He tracked down a hard-hit fly ball in center field and made the underhand catch over his shoulder, saving what could have been multiple runs. 

But the Panthers struggled at the plate for most of the night. Serra senior and Saint Mary’s commit Sam Kretsch was dominant all evening, striking out 12 Burlingame batters and giving up just two hits. 

“I think I did my job,” Scatena said. “I think my team played up to what we were prepared for. The guy threw hard, we knew it, but we just couldn’t get our foot down. But he balled out, that’s why he’s a Saint Mary’s commit. We balled out, we tried our best, 1-0 game, can’t get mad about that.”

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  • Junior third baseman Michael Vargas stands on the infield dirt before the next batter hits.

  • Senior first baseman Dylan Kall looks to the mount and awaits the first pitch of the at-bat.

Despite the frustrating night in the batter’s box, with limited baserunners in almost every inning, the Panthers did manage to create an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Cole Quilici, pinch-hitting for senior outfielder Dylan Philibosian, who injured his shoulder earlier in the game, came to the plate with two outs. Quilici took Kretsch’s pitch to the opposite field, dumping a single into right and breaking the stud’s no-hitter. Girdhar kept the rally alive, lining a single to center. After a long, tough at-bat, Scatena struck out swinging on a 1-2 count, ending the inning. The Panthers wouldn’t put another runner in scoring position the rest of the night. 

“[We needed] more balls in play, especially with two strikes,” manager Shawn Scott said. “But their pitcher was tough. He really pitched us well tonight. So you got to give their pitcher all around the credit in the world, and you’ve got to give our pitcher some credit. We made a couple of mistakes. They got a sac fly and they capitalized. That’s all they needed.”

Scatena didn’t back down, putting up seven innings and striking out six. And while he received the loss, the start was the second complete game of his varsity career. 

Scott believes Scatena’s impressive production goes beyond his results on the mound.

“[Scatena was] outstanding,” Scott said. “Two strikes, stayed composed. Pitched through a couple mistakes from the defense. Stayed positive, was a very positive influence in the dugout with his teammates. You couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

In the bottom of the seventh, still trailing 1-0 and needing one run to go to extra innings and two to win, Burlingame continued to fight but ultimately came up short. 

With two outs, junior Michael Vargas walked on four pitches. But an incredible diving catch by Serra senior right fielder Lucas Shumaker on a bloop to shallow right ended the game and Burlingame’s undefeated record in dramatic fashion. 

While the Panthers couldn’t get the win, the squad is still optimistic and confident about their playoff chances. 

“I want league,” Scatena said. “I think we all want league, and we know we’re capable of it.”

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Zachary Newman, Sports Editor
Zachary Newman is a junior and second-year journalism student. He is excited to be the B's sports editor this year and continue to improve the sports coverage in the paper. Zachary spends the majority of his time outside of school on the golf course. He also likes to play with his dog and cheer on his favorite sports teams.
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