By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
In a battle of undefeated teams in league, Burbank delivered the knockout blow early and prevailed with relative ease against crosstown rival Burroughs. The Lady Bulldogs rode the arm of Notre Dame-bound Caitlyn Brooks to an 8-0 victory to win their 36th straight contest in the Pacific League.
Brooks threw a complete game two-hitter allowing only two walks while striking out nine as she tossed her fifth consecutive shutout.
“It meant so much to do this for my team,” said Brooks, who won her 76th career game in the circle. “We all really worked so hard at practice leading up to this game. As seniors it was so awesome to be celebrating this game.”
Burbank (15-3) and Burroughs (15-3) entered Thursday night’s much anticipated matchup with identical 7-0 marks in league. The Bulldogs left no doubt who the odds-on favorite is to win the league title for a third year in a row.
The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning. Cailey Stevenson drove home Lily Winn (2 for 3, two runs) with an RBI single up the middle off Burroughs’ Presley Miraglia to start things off.
The Indians freshman ace was making her first start in the rivalry and her nerves were evident from the outset as she hit two batters and gave up three hits to the first five Burbank hitters.
Julia Duarte’s picture perfect push bunt single past second base and into right field brought home Stevenson and Brooks to stake BHS to a 3-0 advantage.
“When Coach Mike (Delaney) asked me about it, I was pretty confident in doing so,” Duarte said. “I kind of knew their second baseman would break over to first so I was prepared for that to happen. I just tried to push it as hard as I could by them and it worked out.”
The lead grew to 7-0 after Burbank manufactured four more runs in the bottom of the second. Stevenson (2 for 3, two RBIs) had an RBI sacrifice fly to make it 4-0. Brooks (3 for 4) followed with a mammoth triple to deep center scoring Winn who had singled prior to Stevenson’s at bat.
Izzy Frias singled in Brooks and two batters later Jazmin Orozco joined the hit parade with an RBI single. By the time the second inning had ended, Burbank was in full control having scored seven runs on seven hits.
“We wanted to do our job and get out on top early,” Brooks said. “We did and supported ourselves.”
“We’ve been talking to the team about being consistent on our approach to hitting,” Burbank coach Mike Delaney said. “We changed our approach to our hitting and it’s paid off the last few games for us. I’m really proud of that. Tonight our veteran leadership won out.”
Miraglia settled down and did a splendid job the next four innings limiting Burbank to six hits but only one run.
“We knew she was a tough pitcher so we kept the pressure up,” said Delaney. “She has put up some great numbers so far this year. Everything we heard about her was true. I thought she threw a really good game.”
“It’s tough when it’s your first experience in this game as a freshman. Your first time in this environment is hard,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “She had a tough time but it’s up to our team to have her back and help her through it. We did a poor job of that.”
While the future is extremely bright for the Indians with Miraglia around for three more years, the Burbank faithful are witnessing the special talents of Brooks whose mastery in the circle has been nothing short of spectacular.
Brooks improved to 14-3 overall with a ridiculous .52 era. She has struck out 201 batters and walked only nine in 108 innings of work. At the plate, Brooks is batting a team-high .490 with four home runs and 19 RBIs.
After allowing a single to Kaitlin Okimoto in the first inning, Brooks retired 16 Indian batters in a row before Okimoto struck again with a one-hop double off the left field fence in the seventh inning. No other JBHS player had a hit against the future Fighting Irish hurler.
“Bridgette (Pisa) did a great job behind the plate keeping my tempo,” said Brooks of her battery mate. “We kept pushing ourselves and I didn’t want to let up.”
For Duarte (2 for 4, two RBIs) and the BHS senior class, winning a league title and possibly a CIF title are the ultimate goals. So far, so good as they pursue those lofty goals.
“Many of my best friends are on this team and I really want to go out with a bang this year with them,” Duarte said. “We are really close as a team, closer than we have ever been. I think we can take it all the way with this kind of attitude.”
The two rivals meet again on May 13 at Olive Park. It will be Senior Night for the Lady Indians. Expect to see a different Burroughs team the next time around.
“We didn’t come to play,” Nicol said. “You didn’t see the Burroughs team that we’ve been all year. We didn’t play well but we will be better next time I promise.”