Brawley hurler proves he's Valley's best

May 21, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

There's no denying Brawley Union High pitcher Brandon Burnett is one of the best high school players in the Imperial Valley.

On May 14 against Central Union High, Burnett proved that he is not only one of the best but possibly the best as he out-dueled the Spartans' Leo Ibarra, also considered one of the best local pitchers. Burnett led the Wildcats to a 4-2 Imperial Valley League victory over Central, who entered the game tied for first place with Brawley.

Burnett's five-hit, five-strikeout performance also helped the Wildcats clinch a share of the league title, which it won outright in the team's win over Calexico.

But it was the performance against Central that solidified Burnett's place as the top pitcher in the Valley.

He and Ibarra entered the game undefeated in league, but it was Burnett who ended up with the perfect league record at 5-0.


"In a way, that one game right there, despite what's been accomplished during the year, was a make-or-break game for my season," said the 17-year-old Burnett. "I heard people saying that (Ibarra) was the best. But I think in that game I proved who the best really is. And I hope I don't come off as sounding cocky or anything, but I do feel that I am the best in the league."

Burnett finished the season with seven wins, 57 strikeouts and an ERA under 2.00 in leading the Wildcats to their second league championship in three years.

Even tougher were the expectations he had to live up to. At the beginning of the year, a preseason poll by IVL coaches named Burnett as the league's best pitcher.

"You know, there was some pressure on me when that came out. I knew that I had to perform and back that up," said Burnett. "And for the most part, I was really satisfied with how this year went for me and the team.

"I mean, I don't keep track of my own stats, but I know that the better my stats were, the more I was helping the team," Burnett said. "This season, no, it wasn't perfect. But I don't think I could ask for anything better. The team came a long way and I was happy with how everything worked out."


>> Petter Malvik, Brawley Union High swimming, took fourth place in the 100-yard backstroke in 1 minute, 30 seconds at the CIF San Diego Section Division III swim finals in San Diego on Saturday, setting a school record.

>> Edward Castro, Holtville High baseball, struck out nine in the Vikings' 1-0 win over Palo Verde on Thursday to finish with 99 strikeouts for the season.

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