Tag Archives: Softball

Burroughs, Burbank Softball Campaign Is Underway

By Rick Assad


Like its counterpart baseball, pitching is worth at least 75 percent in softball and if it’s true, then Burroughs High and Burbank are on solid footing in Presley Miraglia and Allie Benson.

How these two junior hurlers perform in the circle will dictate the Indians and Bulldogs overall success.

The Burroughs High softball team is ready for another run at the Pacific League banner. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This is especially true when it comes down to who will be dominant in the Pacific League.

There is one change and that is the departure of Burroughs coach Doug Nicol, who was highly successful.

The new man in charge of the Indians’ program is Wes Tanigawa, and his expectations are the same as Nicol’s.

“No one ever knows what you’re stepping into,” Tanigawa said of being the head man. “There’s a lot of work. But Doug has been there for me and that’s really helped me make the transition.”

Burbank High’s softball team huddles with Coach Mike Delaney in a recent practice. The Bulldogs are also eyeing the Pacific League title. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Tanigawa said he wants to put a good product on the field.

“I’m hoping the girls are doing what they need to do in order to keep doing what they did last season. If they do, then we’ll be all right.”

So far this season, the Indians are 4-1 and begin the league campaign on March 28 at Pasadena.

Burroughs will host archrival Burbank on April 19 and visit the Bulldogs on May 11.

In 2016, the Indians went undefeated in league action at 14-0, were 21-4 overall and advanced to the CIF Southern Section semifinals.

Miraglia, who posted an earned-run average of 1.41, was in the middle of this and the right-hander will be the focal point again.

“Presley was always willing to step up to the plate and give it her all,” Tanigawa said. “She’s been in the program now for three years and she works extra hard.”

The Indians are working on their infield drills which are always critical to any success. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Tanigawa continued: “Presley is a very talented pitcher and knows that she has a lot on her shoulders.”

Miraglia is backed up by junior Mia Storer, who saw some time in the circle last season.

The Indians’ infield includes junior Amanda Flores at first base, junior Nikki Ricciardella at second base, senior Lauren Lopez at shortstop, senior Brianna Johnson at third base and the tandem of sophomore Megan Williams and junior Kaylee Vigil at catcher.

Sophomore Jessica Amaya will patrol left field, junior Hannah Talavera is the center fielder and senior Tati Caceres will play right field.

The Bulldogs are likewise also working on infield play. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The reserves will be freshman third baseman Memorie Munoz, sophomore Kaitlin Escamilla in left field, sophomore Morgan Mersola at second base, sophomore Citlali Mendez at shortstop, senior Makena Savola at first base, and freshman Chloe Bookmyer in right field.

Meanwhile, for Burbank, this season is an opportunity to redeem itself from the previous campaign in which it went 11-17 and 8-6 in league with an opening-round loss to Paramount in the playoffs.

Outfield defense is often overlooked, but Burroughs makes sure everything is in order. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Longtime Coach Mike Delaney is optimistic despite starting the campaign winless in four games.

The Bulldogs commence league action on March 28 against visiting Glendale.

“Overall, we’re better than we were last year,” he said. “The hitting is stronger, one through nine. They have a plan at the plate. This is a more mature and experienced team.”

The league race is going to be a battle. “It’s competitive as always,” Delaney said. “Burroughs is always tough to beat and Crescenta Valley seems to play well under [Coach] Amanda Peek.”

Delaney said the team gets along, and that’s going to help. “I don’t mind being the underdog,” he said. “You play freer. They’re really close-knit with good chemistry.”

Much is expected of the right-handed Benson, who went 7-7 in 2016. Benson is going to be backed up by sophomore Alex Davis and freshman Savannah Davis.

“Allie is a lot more confident this season,” said Delaney of his ace. “She has a game-plan and she worked hard in the off-season. She’s made really good progress.”

The old saying that practice makes perfect isn’t lost on the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sophomore Amaya Broyls is the primary catcher while senior Alyssa De La Torre and sophomore Nikki Davis will also see time behind the plate.

“Amaya can play all eight positions except pitcher,” Delaney noted of his young backstop.

Burbank’s infield consists of juniors Erin Lashkari and Melissa Daniel at first base, junior Macie Jensen at second base, freshman Katie Treadway at shortstop and junior Bene Snyder at third base.

“Melissa has good power and is good defensively,” Delaney said. “Macie, who batted .310, will fill in the power spots in the batting order [3-5], and I’m happy with her defense.”

Delaney added: “Katie is only a freshman and she learned a lot over the fall. She has great speed and range,” he said. “Bene understands her swing.”

The Bulldogs’ outfield will have Alex Davis in center field, junior Anysia Gonzalez in right field and sophomore Sarah Garelick in left field.

Delaney had glowing remarks about his outfield. “I’m happy with her game,” he said of Davis. “”She’s a good base runner and she’s going to have a breakout year.”

Delaney added: “There aren’t enough positive things you can say about Anysia,” he said. “She’s a really good defender and Sarah is very intelligent.”

Okimoto Showed The Way For Burroughs Softball Team

By Rick Assad


Whether Kaitlin Okimoto was toiling at shortstop or in the batter’s box hitting line drives, the senior was invariably in the middle of helping her team win.

Okimoto’s over-the-top talent was never more obvious than during this past season when the Burroughs High softball team reached the CIF Southern Section Division III semifinals.

A four-year varsity starter and one of the team leaders, Okimoto was a key clog that helped the Indians make the postseason every year.

Okimoto finished her highly-decorated career batting .444 with 106 runs batted in, 10 homers, 31 doubles, 13 triples with 104 runs scored and a .487 on-base percentage.

This current run and quarterfinal match versus Norwalk was something truly special and unforgettable.

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Burroughs shortstop Kaitlin Okimoto was one of the leaders and helped the Indians make the CIF playoffs all four years she played. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“During the ninth inning, the second extra inning, I hit a home run over the fence to go up by one run,” Okimoto said. “After that, the team started to rally and we went up by four to win the game.”

Yet it was more than that. “The best part was that straight after the game the seniors headed to our graduation ceremony where we wore our jerseys under our robes,” Okimoto said.

Of course, the goal each year was to win the Pacific League title. “We have set many goals over the years, but we were most excited about winning league two years in a row,” said Okimoto, who batted .429 this season with eight home runs, 30 RBIs, 11 doubles, four triples with 30 runs scored and a .505 on-base percentage.  “Making the playoffs every year and getting to the semifinals. That made us the first Burroughs softball team to do so.”

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Okimoto (#32) was fearless. Here the senior who will attend Brown University where she will play softball, slides into second base in a CIF opening-round game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians lost to the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, Grand Terrace 7-0 in the semifinals, and finished the year with a 24-5 mark.

Burroughs also swept through the league with a 14-0 record and went 13-1 the previous season.

Despite playing in 106 high school games, there were a few that stood out for Okimoto, who will attend Brown University as a business major and will also play softball.

“My freshman year we played a pre-season game at La Canada and I got up and hit a home run over the fence,” Okimoto recalled. “That was my first high school home run.”

Okimoto went on: “The second game I remember the most was the second game, my junior year, against Burbank High School. I got a double play and I hit well. Our team fought back and finally pushed a run past them to end their winning streak. We tied them for the Pacific League championship, the first one I had in my high school career.”

Okimoto, who closed out her junior campaign with a .480 batting average, 21 RBIs and 21 runs tallied with eight doubles, said this season will be looked back upon fondly.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Okimoto played shortstop. Here she shows off her incredible arm strength. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We leave behind the memory of a team that came together and gave it their all for the game and each other,” she said.

Okimoto said while one of the leaders, she knew it was a team effort that set this squad apart.

“My biggest asset on the field was knowing my teammates always had my back,” she pointed out. “I knew that if I made an error or wasn’t playing well that they would pick me up. Every single girl on that team played for each other which made playing fun and when you’re having fun on the field, you are hard to beat.”

Okimoto, a gifted athlete who also plays travel ball for the ACES (Ashley Creamer Elite Softball), said she tried her hand at another sport and liked it.

“When I was a freshman I actually played varsity basketball,” she said, “but sophomore year I made the difficult decision to focus on softball, so I quit basketball. I have always known that softball was my passion and I knew that in order to excel I had to commit to it.”

Okimoto said playing at Burroughs was a dream come true, and it was because of her fellow players, who were always supportive.

“My teammates would say that I am determined, hardworking and a leader on and off the field,” she said.

Okimoto draws inspiration from her grandfather, Ralph Judkins. “I look up to my grandpa,” she said. “He has accomplished so many things in his life and has worked hard for everything he has. He can always make me laugh with his one-liners. He has also always supported me in what I choose to pursue.”

Burroughs Historic Softball Season Ends With 7-0 Loss In Semifinals

By Rick Assad


Burroughs High’s softball team didn’t play an All-Star team in Tuesday’s CIF Southern Section Division III semifinal game at Olive Park, but it may have felt that way.

Grand Terrace, top-seeded and ranked No. 2 in the nation by the website maxpreps.com, waltzed to a 7-0 victory, its 25th consecutive straight win, 17th shutout, and will face Redondo Union in the title game on Saturday.

It’s not that the No. 4 seeded Indians (24-5) didn’t give a mighty effort, it’s that the Titans, who have 12 players committed to Division I college programs, were simply too good. Burroughs had its 15-game winning streak snapped.

Three players will play for the University of Oklahoma and they include pitcher Melanie Olmos, third baseman Eliyah Flores and outfielder Alycia Flores.

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Burroughs catcher Brianna Devellano makes a play at the plate against Grand Terrace in Tuesday’s CIF semifinal game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This was a special and talented Burroughs softball team as it became the first squad to reach the semifinals.

“This was a competitive game early,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “But we needed to play near-perfect and we didn’t. They played hard and they never gave up. I’m really proud of this team.”

Olmos was stellar in the circle as she allowed two hits with one walk, had five strikeouts and one hit batter in five and one-third innings.

“It begins in the circle,” Grand Terrace assistant coach Wil Loredo said of the pitching staff that includes Yesenia Morrison, who went one and two-third frames, while striking out three.

Last season, Grand Terrace reached the championship game, and came within one inning of winning.

Javier Olmos is the other assistant coach and he emphasized team play. “All the girls play for top organizations. This isn’t new to them. This is a good group of girls.”

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Pitcher Presley Miraglia and third baseman Brianna Johnson talk it over. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Olmos had praise for the Indians: “That team over there is a fine team and well-coached,” he said. “We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. There are several really good players on that team. We did our research.”

The only Burroughs players reaching base via a hit or walk were Kaitlin Okimoto in the first, Amanda Flores in the second and Hannah Talavera in the third.

Olmos gave up a two-out walk to Okimoto, who will be attending Brown University, in the first inning, but then induced Presley Miraglia to pop up.

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Left fielder Isabel Frias gets the ball into the infield in a CIF semifinal game against the Titans. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Olmos retired the first two batters in the second, but Flores lashed a base hit up the middle. Olmos fanned Destiny Velazquez to retire the side.

With one out in the third inning, Talavera tripled to right field only to see Lauren Lopez and Okimoto each pop up.

Olmos worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning, but then hit Flores to lead off the fifth. Olmos then struck out Velazquez and Brianna Devellano and got Talavera to foul out.

“I thought we held them down pretty well,” said Devellano, the catcher who went hitless in two at-bats and will play at Pasadena City College or El Camino College. “It wasn’t a blowout.”

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Burroughs shortstop Kaitlin Okimoto rifles the ball to first base in a 7-0 loss to Grand Terrace. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Olmos retired the side in order in the sixth, but Olmos’ defense committed its only error in the seventh with two out when Flores was safe. Velazquez then fanned to end the contest.

Miraglia wasn’t especially sharp as she surrendered 11 hits with one hit batter while fanning four in six and two-third frames.

Mia Storer went one-third of an inning and walked a batter.

“I’m always a little nervous in the first inning,” said Miraglia, whose defense committed three errors. “Knowing that if you lose, your season is over makes you even more nervous. What I try to do is forget about all that and just try and get the next out.”

Miraglia added: “This is the best any Burroughs team has done. I’m really proud of what we accomplished.”

The Titans (27-1) scored in four of seven innings including the first frame when they led 1-0 after Miraglia allowed three hits.

Eliyah Flores doubled to left field and went to third base on a sacrifice by Alyssa Graham. Flores was erased on a force out at the plate on a terrific throw by third baseman Brianna Johnson.

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

The Burroughs softball team lines up before the start of Tuesday’s CIF semifinal game against Grand Terrace. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I came out and struggled in my first at-bat,” said Johnson, who fanned three times. “I was more confident in my other at-bats. They’re a solid team.”

Lilly Bishop reached on a fielder’s choice and pinch runner Alexis Lopez entered the game.

Olmos was safe on a hit to right center as Lopez raced to third base and scored on a single by Morgan Parsons.

Miraglia went 1-2-3 in the second inning, but allowed two runs in the third inning when Eliyah Flores had an infield single, went to third on Graham’s single to right, and scored on an error.

Graham moved to third base on the miscue and crossed the plate when Bishop was safe on a fielder’s choice.

Miraglia toured a perfect fourth and fifth frame, but then ran into trouble in the sixth as she gave up three hits including a two-run homer to Parsons as Olmos, who singled to left, scored in front of her.

Danielle Rico then followed with an infield single, but Miraglia escaped without any more runs scoring.

The Titans tacked on two runs in the seventh inning when Graham singled with one out and scored on Bishop’s double to right center.

Lopez came in as a pinch runner for Bishop, went to third on a single by Alexis Lemus and crossed the plate on an error.

Burroughs Softball Reaches Semifinals With 4-0 Win Over Norwalk

By Rick Assad


The Burroughs High softball team has a date with top-seeded and nationally ranked Grand Terrace in the CIF Southern Section Division III semifinals at Olive Park on Tuesday with a 3:15 p.m. first pitch.

That’s because on Thursday, the No. 4 seeded Indians (24-4) needed nine innings in order to subdue host Norwalk 4-0 in a quarterfinal match. Burroughs was blanked until that point when it scored four runs.

“We won the game because of our defense,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “Our defense held us in the game. It was highlight after highlight. I don’t want to sound over dramatic, but that was the greatest effort by a team that I’ve ever seen. It was unbelievable.”

The Indians’ next game is going to be against a team that hasn’t allowed a run during three playoff games and is ranked No. 2 in the nation by the website maxpreps.com.

The ninth inning began with Kaitlin Okimoto hitting a ball to deep center field for a home run that made it 1-0.

Presley Miraglia was safe on a swinging bunt and Nikki Ricciardella entered as a pinch runner. Brianna Johnson singled and both runners scored on Amanda Flores’ triple to center field. Flores crossed the plate on Destiny Velazquez’s base hit.

In the opening round, the Titans, who are 26-1 and have a 24-game winning streak which is currently the longest, defeated Peninsula 10-0, then knocked off San Clemente 7-0 in the second round and Don Lugo 8-0 in the quarters.

Norwalk outhit the Indians, 11-7, but was unable to score any runs off pitching ace Miraglia, who went nine frames, striking out eight with one walk.

Aside from the victory over Norwalk, Burroughs, which has won 15 straight games, the second longest, has beaten Irvine 4-2 in the second round and drilled Tesoro 8-0 in the first round.

Burroughs Softball Reaches Quarterfinals With 4-2 Win Over Irvine

By Rick Assad


Like an eagle soaring, the Burroughs High softball team is flying past opponents, including Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat of host Irvine (15-14) in a CIF Southern Section Division III second-round playoff game.

On Thursday, the Indians (23-4) will face host Norwalk, which beat Palos Verdes 2-1 in an opening-round contest and edged Alemany 2-1 in a second-round match.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Presley Miraglia was supported by 10 hits and allowed two runs and seven hits with eight strikeouts and one walk over seven innings. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We were pretty much in charge the whole game,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “They scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth and had four of their seven hits when Presley [Miraglia] left some balls up.”

Nicol went on: “There were runners on second and third with one out, but she got out of the inning by getting a pop up to Kaitlin [Okimoto] and getting a strikeout.”

For two innings, neither team scored, but that was broken when the Indians tallied three runs in the third.

Okimoto, who plays shortstop, hit a double and Miraglia sacrificed her to third base. Brianna Johnson, who contributed three hits, singled to make it 1-0.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

Shortstop Kaitlin Okimoto, shown in a recent game against Burbank, had three hits in a 4-2 win over Irvine in a CIF second-round game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs extended its advantage to 2-0 when Isabel Frias reached on a fielder’s choice as Johnson crossed the plate, and it became 3-0 after Amanda Flores was safe on a fielder’s choice that drove in a run.

The Indians, who also received two hits from Hannah Talavera, tacked on a solo run in the seventh inning when Okimoto, who had three hits, barely missed a home run and settled for a triple and later scored on a wild pitch.

“I was really happy that we came away with the win because it wasn’t one of our best hitting games,” said Nicol of his club that managed 10 hits. “We hit 13 ground-ball outs and we left 14 runners on base.”

Miraglia was on the money and put together another impressive outing as she went seven innings while allowing seven hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Burroughs Softball Blanks Tesoro, 8-0, In CIF Opening Round

By Rick Assad


Whenever Burroughs High’s Presley Miraglia steps into the circle, she’s calm, cool and confident.

In Thursday afternoon’s CIF Southern Section Division III opening-round softball playoff match against Tesoro at Olive Park, the right-handed pitcher was all three as she tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout as the Indians blanked the Titans, 8-0.

The Indians (22-4 and 14-0 in the Pacific League) now face Irvine, which knocked off St. Paul, 5-3, in a second-round game on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Burroughs pitcher Presley Miraglia allowed no runs with two hits versus Tesoro in a CIF Southern Section opening-round game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The only well-hit ball that Miraglia allowed came in the seventh inning off the bat of Kiana Cisneros to left field.

Miraglia then struck out Lauren Steffo, but Danielle Fettis was safe on an error as Cisneros scooted to second base.

Brittney Hill then lined to left fielder Isabel Frias for the second out and Taylor Lavin fanned for the final out.

The other hit was delivered by Cisneros with one out in the fourth inning and was of the infield variety.

Miraglia then fanned Steffo and got Fettis to fly out to Jessie Amaya in right field, who was playing for Alise Archuleta, who has an injured ankle.

“She really gave up one clean, solid hit,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said of his star hurler who looks forward to playing travel ball this summer. “She missed a lot of bats today. She’s really grown as a pitcher. It’s nice to see that.”

In the first inning, Miraglia struck out Rylee Argue and Hallie Goldman, but Goldman was safe on a throwing error. Miraglia then induced Cisneros and Steffo to both fly to Frias.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Second baseman Lauren Lopez singled twice and scored twice during an 8-0 win over the Titans. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The second inning began with Fettis and Hill each whiffing and Lavin grounding out to second baseman Lauren Lopez.

Miraglia got Shelby Pruyne, Caitlyn Sung and Argue to ground out in the third inning.

Miraglia had a 1-2-3 fifth inning as Hill popped to Kaitlin Okimoto, the shortstop, Lavin fanned and Pruyne flied to Frias.

Miraglia worked a perfect sixth inning when Sung grounded out to Lopez. Pinch hitter Sam Hogancamp grounded to first baseman Amanda Flores and pinch hitter Maddie Heredia flied to Amaya.

“I was just focused on my pitching,” said Miraglia, who struck out eight with no walks.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Kaitlin Okimoto (#32) steals second base and later scored. Okimoto singled and added a three-run homer in the sixth. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

When asked what pitches were working, Miraglia was quick with an answer. “My curve, drop and rise,” she said.

Miraglia was assisted by a 13-hit uprising that featured a three-run homer to left center field by Okimoto in the sixth inning.

“I liked our at-bats,” Nicol said of his high-ranked team. “I like line drives and ground balls. I don’t like fly balls.”

Okimoto also singled to left field in the first inning, stole second base and scored on Brianna Johnson’s single to right field.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Burroughs’ outfield play was flawless in a CIF Southern Section first-round victory. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I felt pretty confident because we had a good practice yesterday,” Okimoto said. “This was a good win, but we always try to look forward.”

A second run was tacked on in the opening frame when Frias singled in pinch runner Nikki Ricciardella, who came in after Miraglia was hit with a pitch.

The Indians struck for four runs on four hits in the sixth inning that made it 8-0.

In the frame, Hannah Talavera (two singles) walked and Lopez had an infield single and both scored on Okimoto’s blast.

Johnson was safe on an infield hit and she crossed the plate on Flores’ hit to right field.

The Indians took a 3-0 lead in the second inning when Lopez singled to center field with one out, moved to second base on a fielder’s choice and came around on an error.

It became 4-0 with a solo run in the fifth inning when Johnson singled to center with one out, stole second base, advanced to third base on Frias’ grounder and came home on a single through the middle by Flores.

Brianna Devellano was safe on an infield hit in the fourth inning and advanced to second and third base, but was left stranded.

Makayla Norwood gave up seven hits with three strikeouts and two hit batters for the Titans (9-15) in three and one-third innings, while Megan Richardson went two and two-third innings and yielded six hits with two walks.

Burroughs Softball Takes A Pair From Burbank

By Rick Assad


For a brief moment, the Burbank High softball team held a lead, but the hammer in the form of crosstown rival Burroughs exploded for seven runs en route to a 13-6 thumping on Wednesday in the Pacific League finale at McCambridge Park.

With the win, the Indians (21-4 and 14-0 in league) managed a perfect league campaign and now await which team they will face in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

“It’s great that we won the league title, but right now everybody is zero and zero,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said referring to the upcoming postseason.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

Burroughs went undefeated in Pacific League play. CIF playoffs are next. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Nicol knew that Burbank wouldn’t quit after falling behind early. “When they took the lead we needed to come back and score runs,” he said.

Presley Miraglia earned the victory after working seven innings and yielding five hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks.

Allie Benson absorbed the loss after toiling six and two-third frames, allowing 11 hits with five walks, four hit batters and four strikeouts.

Reace Rushing gave up two hits with a walk and a hit batter in two-thirds of an inning.

Burroughs jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the third inning when Lauren Lopez singled to left field, moved to second base on an error, third base on Kaitlin Okimoto’s infield single and scored on an error.

Okimpto took second base on an error, advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on Isabel Frias’ force out.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

Burbank lost both games to rival Burroughs, but will still make the postseason. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Bulldogs (11-16 and 8-6 in league) rallied in the bottom of the third with three runs on two hits and an error.

Anysia Gonzalez walked and later scored to cut the lead to 2-1 and Desiree Gomez singled with two out.

Julia Duarte, who singled in the first inning, walked and both scored on Emily Monterrey’s booming double to left center that made it 3-2.

“We battled but the difference was our defense,” Burbank coach Mike Delaney said of his club that committed four errors to three for the Indians. “We struggled in some at-bats. But you have to love their fight. We’re young.”

Delaney added: “It’s a learning thing. It’s too bad these seniors won’t have another year to play with this group because it would be something special.”

The Indians broke the contest open in the fifth inning by sending 10 batters to the plate with seven scoring.

Hannah Talavera’s triple to left center scored two runs and Miraglia, Lopez and Okimoto each had run-producing triples.

Brianna Johnson had a run-scoring double and Destiny Velasquez’s sacrifice fly drove in another. Okimoto led off with a triple to left field and came around to score.

“All of the cards were falling into place,” Okimoto said. “Everyone on our team can hit. This is a great way to end the season.”

The Indians scored a run in the sixth when Miraglia walked to open the frame. Pinch runner Nikki Ricciardella stole second base, went to third base on Frias’ grounder and came home on an infield hit by Amanda Flores.

Burroughs made it 13-3 after adding three runs in the seventh when nine batters went to the plate.

Key hits included Mia Storer’s run-scoring single that scored Brianna Devellano, who led off with a base hit to center field.

Ricciardella, who tallied a pair of runs, had a run-producing base hit to left center.

Jessie Amaya also singled in the seventh inning, but was retired on a force out.

Burbank, which finished fourth in the league and will make the playoffs, cut the lead to seven runs with a three-run seventh on Cailey Stevenson’s two-run triple to right center and Gomez’s run-producing single up the middle.


Burroughs Softball Defeats Burbank, 7-2

By Rick Assad


In sports, emotion often plays a significant role and it did for five-plus innings of Monday’s Pacific League softball game at Olive Park.

Burroughs High came in having already clinched the league banner while rival Burbank was tucked solidly in fourth place.

All of this didn’t matter as the Indians held a slim one-run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning when they erupted for four runs and waltzed to a 7-2 win.

The two will face off once again on Wednesday at McCambridge Park with a 6 p.m. start time.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

Burroughs shortstop Kaitlin Okimoto takes a throw during the Indians’ 7-2 win over Burbank. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The girls feed off each other,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “These girls compete. But I told them that Burbank wasn’t going to lay down. In these kinds of games, the best team doesn’t always win.”

It was a back-and-forth affair between Burroughs’ ace Presley Miraglia and Burbank’s top hurler Allie Benson.

After a few times through the batting order, the Indians nicked Benson, who went five innings while allowing eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks, for three hits and two walks with an error in the sixth.

The frame began with Miraglia pushing a single to right field while Brianna Johnson was safe on an infield hit back to Benson.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

The Indians’ Lauren Lopez is out at the plate as Desiree Gomez makes the tag. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Isabel Frias reached on an error which filled the bases and Amanda Flores walked to make it 4-2.

The big blow was Destiny Velasquez’s bases-clearing triple to right center that prompted Burbank Coach Mike Delaney to bring in Reace Rushing with none out.

Rushing then retired Brianna Devellano, Hannah Talavera and Lauren Lopez on infield grounders.

For two innings, neither team managed a hit or a run until Desiree Gomez singled with one out in the third inning for the Bulldogs.

Gomez was caught stealing on a terrific throw from Devellano, the catcher to Kaitlin Okimoto, the shortstop.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

Burbank first baseman Emma Kerr makes the play. The Bulldogs fell to the Indians, 7-2. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“This is my fourth year playing in these games,” said Okimoto, who will be attending Brown University. “I try to think about it as just another game. I take a deep breath and try to relax.”

Miraglia, who toured seven innings, surrendered five hits with 12 strikeouts and no walks, then fanned Alex Davis for the third out.

In the bottom of the third, the Indians (20-4 and 13-0 in league) scored two runs on four hits as Benson allowed a double to right center by Velasquez, who led off the inning.

Devellano then struck out, but Talavera singled to center field. Lopez’s infield hit made it 1-0 as Velasquez crossed the plate, and after Okimoto popped up for the second out, Miraglia lined a single to right field that plated Talavera.

Burbank (11-15 and 8-5 in league) cut the deficit in half with a run in the fourth inning when Emily Monterrey’s double brought in Emma Kerr, who singled to right.

Julia Duarte, who will be attending the University of Pennsylvania, lashed a base hit up the middle, but Kerr and Duarte were both left stranded when Miraglia struck out Macie Jensen and induced Amber Ingram to line out back to the box.

The Indians increased their lead to 3-1 with a run in the fifth inning after Lopez’s two-out double to left field scored Talavera, who walked.

Refusing to quit, Burbank trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the sixth inning when Cailey Stevenson lined a hard-hit ball over the head of left fielder Frias for a home run.

“I’m really proud of them,” Delaney said of his team. “We battled. Allie pitched her heart out. Presley threw a good game, but we were getting into too many negative counts. We couldn’t lay off the high stuff, but you can’t strike out 12 times and expect to win.”

Burroughs Softball Drills Crescenta Valley, 4-1

By Rick Assad

Maybe first inning jitters were at work as Burroughs High star pitcher Presley Miraglia gave up a run in the top of the first to Crescenta Valley, but that was the only tally as the Indians remained unbeaten in Pacific League play after walking away with a 4-1 victory on Tuesday afternoon at Olive Park.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Indians accounted for six hits and remain undefeated in Pacific League play. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The teams will meet at Crescenta Valley for a rematch on Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. start.

“We knew that it was going to be that kind of game,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “We’re going to have another tough game on Thursday.”

Miraglia began the first frame by striking out Jessica Yzaguirre and Kendall Ebert, but then allowed a single to left field by Syndee Wells.

Wells stole second base and advanced to third base on a base hit to left field by Alyssa Hernandez.

Wells scored on an error as the Falcons (12-7 and 8-1 in league) moved ahead 1-0. Miraglia ended the inning by striking out Paige Baker.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Presley Miraglia allowed four hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks as the Indians defeated Crescenta Valley, 4-1. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“I was kind of nervous to begin the game knowing what it meant,” said Miraglia, who gave up four hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks across seven innings. “After we scored [in the bottom half], I just tried to relax and focus on pitching and hitting my spots.”

Miraglia worked a perfect second inning and fanned Peyton Hause and Marissa Gutierrez.

A 1-2-3 fourth inning followed as Miraglia struck out Alyssa Hernandez and Hause, and worked another perfect frame, the fifth, as she whiffed Gutierrez.

Miraglia then fanned Hause and Taylor Hoogenhuizen, the losing pitcher who surrendered six hits with two walks in six innings, in the seventh inning.

The Indians (16-4 and 9-0 in league) evened it at 1-1 in the bottom of the first inning when Kaitlin Okimoto singled to left center with two out.

Okimoto moved to second base on an infield hit by Miraglia and crossed the plate when Brianna Johnson rifled a single to left center.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol is a stickler for fundamentals. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Johnson, who plays third base and has a rifle arm, was instrumental in fielding several bunts that were turned into outs.

“We practice that every day and it becomes routine,” said Johnson, who committed an uncharacteristic throwing error in the third inning. “I’m pretty quick and I try to make the throw quick.”

Three innings later, the Indians struck for two runs to make it 3-1 and were helped out by an error on the center fielder.

Johnson began the frame by walking and then took second base on a hit to right center by Isabel Frias.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Defense was a key to the Indians’ win versus the Falcons. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

With two down, Brianna Devellano then lofted a ball to shallow center field that clanked off the fielder’s glove as both runners scored.

Hannah Talavera also singled to center field in the inning, but was left stranded when Devellano was out at the plate.

The Indians added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Okimoto lined a tremendous shot to left center that sailed over Yzaguirre’s head for a home run to make it 4-1.

“I expected this meeting to be a tough, competitive game,” Okimoto said. “I think that we have real good chemistry and that helps.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs’ offense made the most of its scoring opportunities. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs Softball Cruises To 11-1 Blitz Over Arcadia

By Rick Assad


It began innocently enough as Hannah Talavera lined to center field and Lauren Lopez lined to shortstop.

What followed was a parade of a dozen players coming to bat with nine reaching base via a base hit as the Burroughs High softball team scored 10 runs en route to a mercy-ruled 11-1 Pacific League win over visiting Arcadia on Thursday at Olive Park.

The next batter was Kaitlin Okimoto, who launched a solo shot over the right fielder’s head for a home run as the Indians (15-4 and 8-0 in league) pulled ahead 1-0.

Presley Miraglia then walked while Brianna Johnson singled to center field. Isabel Frias drove in a run after reaching base on an infield hit.

Amanda Flores singled to right field for a run batted in and Destiny Velasquez (two hits) slapped a base hit up the middle for a run.

Alise Archuleta had a run-scoring infield hit while Talavera walked, which was followed by Lopez’s two-run single to right field.

Okimoto drilled a line-drive to left center for a home run that brought in three runs while Miraglia singled to center field.

“I like to play a close, competitive game,” Okimoto said. “If it’s too one-sided, sometimes you can lose your focus. You don’t want to do that. It’s always nice when you have a lead that’s more than a few runs, though.”

The inning finally concluded with Johnson popping up to the second baseman.

“With a big lead you can lose your edge,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “We want to be challenged. We’re going to be challenged next week when we play Crescenta Valley.”

Because of the 10-0 lead, Miraglia went two innings as the right-hander worked a perfect first and second inning.

Miraglia struck out two and didn’t allow a walk and was replaced by Mia Storer, who went three frames and was credited with the victory.

Storer surrendered two hits and one run with five strikeouts and three walks.

Storer retired the side 1-2-3 in the third inning and fanned two batters, and struck out two more in the fourth inning while allowing a pair of walks and a base hit by Susan Harrison.

“When you have a lead it allows you to bring in players and give them meaningful playing time,” Nicol said. “You don’t want to throw them in there during the playoffs and them not having playing time. That’s what these games are good for.”

The Apaches (3-10 and 2-7 in league) scored their only run in the fifth inning when Storer walked Nicole Puente to lead off the frame.

Puente went to second base on a wild pitch and moved to third base on a single by Christie Haung. Puente crossed the plate on Storer’s wild pitch.

Burroughs added a solo run in the fourth inning when Archuleta singled to center field with one out, stole second base and scored on Lopez’s triple to right field.

Nikki Ricciardella had a lead off base hit to center field in the third inning and advanced to second base on Storer’s infield single, but didn’t score.