Burbank High softball seemed to be peaking at exactly the right time. Three impressive playoff wins, fueled mostly by pitching and defense had the Bulldogs in the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs for the first time since 1975.
But the thing about post season play that makes it so intriguing is the reality that one misstep can send a team home.
On Thursday, May 24 the Bulldogs started slow against the Lancers and never recovered, falling 10-4, in a game at McCambridge Park. Burbank had four errors in-total and surrendered 11 hits — including six in a six-run third inning for Bishop Amat — in the loss.
The Bulldogs clawed their way back into the game and had a glimpse at it when they rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning following a three-run home run from Katie Hooper. However, the Lancers countered with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth and Burbank’s magical ride was halted in the quarterfinals.
Still, it was a season of growth for a team that will return nine of 12 players next season. The Bulldogs seemed poised to wrestle the Pacific League title from Burroughs and ready to make an even deeper post season run next year.
Speaking with Burbank Athletic Director Fred Cook and with head coach Nicole Drabecki briefly on May 23 they spoke openly about the school rallying behind the girls’ programs that made impressive playoff runs this season in basketball and softball.
“No one has done it in softball since Burroughs made a deep run in ’76 following our girls in ’75,” Cook said. “The school, the city are both so ready for this.”
“We just wanted to put Burbank softball on the map again and I honestly feel like we have,” Drabecki said.
Burbank was 23-7 this season overall and was led by the star-power of Laina Do, Hooper and pitcher Caitlyn Brooks. All three return next season.