The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

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

Baseball continues dominant stretch with victory against Menlo Atherton for share of league lead

Zachary Newman
Junior Dionisios Vorrises deals to the plate in the sixth inning of varsity baseball’s matchup against Menlo-Atherton on April 17.

“Stack up wins.” “Take one game at a time.” “Improve a little each day.”

Ask a team about their goals, and chances are they’ll mention one of these common adages. But the more you hear it the more you realize — it is easier to say than it is to pull off. 

But not for varsity baseball. The Panthers have done nothing but win lately, losing just once since March 9, going 7-2 in that span and boosting their record to an impressive 13-5 against elite competition. 

So Burlingame’s matchup against first-place Menlo-Atherton High School (5-1 Peninsula Athletic League Bay) on Wednesday, April 17 was expected to be a litmus test — to prove their recent run of success wasn’t a fluke. 

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The result was a resounding 4-1 victory for the Panthers — a statement win that gave them a share of the league lead with M-A and King’s Academy. 

“[We] played one of our best games today at the right time against a very tough, very well-coached team,” manager Shawn Scott said. 

Coming off a 17-9 victory versus Hillsdale High School five days earlier, the team took the field with confidence. 

Perhaps no one embodied that confidence more than sophomore Nick Armstrong, who got the start against the Bears. 

Armstrong allowed a leadoff double to begin the game, and the run later scored after a sacrifice bunt and ensuing sacrifice fly. But after the top of the first, Armstrong pitched a shutout, going four scoreless innings and allowing just six hits. 

“I think I played pretty well,” Armstrong said. “I just have a great group of guys around me to help support me.”

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  • Sophomore starting pitcher Nick Armstrong winds up before throwing to the plate.

  • Senior first baseman Dylan Kall rounds second base heading for third in the second inning.

  • Neil Girdhar swings at a first-pitch fastball against the Bears on April 17. The senior outfielder reached base twice with two walks.

  • Junior Dionisios Vorrises fields a bunt and throws across the field to senior first baseman Dylan Kall.

  • Senior catcher Will Robbins slides into third base for a triple in the fourth inning. Robbins was dominant at the plate, going 3-for-3.

The Panthers had to navigate a tumultuous top of the second, facing runners at first and second with two outs. But Armstrong remained composed and forced a pop-up to shallow center, ending the scoring threat. 

The offense, which has come to life in recent weeks, took control of the game in the bottom half of the second inning. 

Senior Dylan Kall got the rally started with a leadoff walk. Senior Tyler Lachance, the next batter, roped a double down the third base line. As Kall hustled around the bases and rounded third, Scott, seeing the left fielder mishandle the ball, waved his first baseman home. The throw was late, and the game was tied 1-1. But Lachance also crossed home plate minutes later on a wild pitch, giving Burlingame a lead they would never relinquish. 

Senior catcher Will Robbins made the biggest defensive plays in the game, throwing out two potential base stealers in the second and fourth innings. 

But it was Robbins’ performance at the plate that won the game for the Panthers. Batting third in the order, Robbins began the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff triple to left. Kall walked again. Junior Rodrigo Beltrana, pinch-running for Robbins, scored when Kall was caught in a rundown, extending the lead.

Junior Dionisios Vorrises came out of the bullpen in relief of Armstrong in the fifth inning, retiring six straight batters. 

Burlingame added another run in the bottom of the sixth. Robbins hit a double and Beltrana once again scored after Kall drove him with a sacrifice fly to center. 

Robbins finished the contest 3-for-3 with a run, needing just a homerun to complete the cycle. Lachance also reached base with three hits in three plate appearances. Kall and senior right fielder Neil Girdhar drew two walks.

The recent offensive production has been the key to Burlingame’s success. The squad leads the PAL Bay in runs, averaging almost six per game in league play. 

With one out in the top of the seventh, Vorrises took matters into his own hands. Desperate for any offense, the Bears laid a bunt down the third baseline. Vorrises fielded the bunt, and threw off his back foot across the diamond right into Kall’s glove, securing the second out. After allowing a walk, second baseman Jackson Howard fielded a ground ball with his backhand and shoveled the ball from his glove to Kall’s, ending the game and giving the Panthers a big victory. 

Armstrong received the win, while Vorrises picked up the save. Scott was extremely pleased with his team’s performance, especially on defense. 

“[The] pitchers pitched well. Will Robbins was amazing behind the plate,” Scott said. “Bottom part of our lineup did a great job of turning over to get the top of the lineup extra bats. Our defense all around was stellar as well.”

Burlingame followed the game on Wednesday with an extra-innings loss to the Bears on April 19 before rebounding with a 5-4 comeback win the next afternoon. The team next takes the diamond to face Sacred Heart Preparatory on Wednesday, April 24. 

Scott emphasized the importance of improvement during the busiest part of the season schedule. 

“There is always room for improvement until you get to the last game and win it all,” Scott said. “But until you get to such a stage you have to continue to work on the small things. Guys got to work on individual things for themselves to help themselves get better for the team.”

With six league games remaining before the playoffs, the Panthers have just one goal in mind.

“Win league,” Armstrong said. “We’re on a roll right now. [It’s our goal] to win league, and that’s it.”

And make no mistake, they’ll try to stack as many wins together as they can to do so. 

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Zachary Newman
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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