The Burroughs High and Burbank softball teams are each hoping to claim the Pacific League crown and then make a dent in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
But right now the one difference is that the Indians are 7-2 in preseason while the Bulldogs are 1-9.
Burroughs begins its league trek at Glendale on Tuesday, while Burbank will host Arcadia. Both games commence at 3:30 p.m.
In the rivalry games, the Indians will host the Bulldogs on May 9 and Burroughs will visit Burbank on May 11.
If the Indians are to fare well this season much will rest on the shoulders of sophomore pitcher Presley Miraglia, who went 21-4 and made All-State, All-CIF and All-League.
“Besides throwing about 90 percent of the innings, Presley is a great hitter,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said.
Assisting Miraglia in the pitcher’s circle will be freshman Mia Storer, who according to Nicol has a bright future.
“Mia is really good and she throws really hard,” Nicol said. “She’s a strikeout pitcher with a lot of speed.”
After a first-round bye last season, the Indians, who tied Burbank for first place in the league with a 13-1 record, lost in the second round to Laguna Hills, 4-3.
“There’s a lot of competition and the girls are working hard,” Nicol said. “I think that we’re definitely one of the top two teams the league.”
Nicol added: “We’ve either won or shared the league title in four of the six years I’ve been here. We think if we win league, that we can do well in the playoffs.”
Junior Amanda Flores and junior Destiny Velasquez will each see time at first base and each will share time as the designated hitter.
Junior Lauren Lopez will spend time at second base and senior Kaitlin Okimoto will play shortstop.
Junior Brianna Johnson will toil at third base and senior Brianna Devellano is the catcher.
Senior Alise Archuleta will play left field, sophomore Hannah Talavera will patrol center field and sophomore Jessie Amaya will play right field. Senior Isabel Frias will also see time in center field.
“We really focus on the team,” Nicol said. “We focus on building a team. We don’t rely on one girl to carry us. Last year we were more of a slugging team and we scored a lot of runs. This year we’re going to play small ball. Hit behind the runner, move runners over. The little things.”
The rest of the team includes senior Sophia Odio, who will play in the outfield, as will junior Tatiana Caceres and sophomore Nikki Ricciardella will play shortstop and catcher.
The Bulldogs are nine games under .500, but are looking to turn matters around during league play.
Some of the falloff is due to the graduation of Caitlyn Brooks, who went 21-5 and helped the Bulldogs advance to the second round of the playoffs where they lost to Bishop Amat, 4-3.
Brooks, who had an 0.66 earned-run average with 264 strikeouts in 149 and one-third innings, is currently at the University of Notre Dame where she’s on the women’s softball team.
Burbank Coach Mike Delaney is relying on four pitchers to take Brooks’ place. They are sophomore Reace Rushing, sophomore Allie Benson, freshman Alyssa Porras and freshman Alex Davis.
Delaney is also fortunate in that he has many players who can fit into numerous positions on the field.
Senior Julia Duarte can play first base, shortstop and third base, senior Cailey Stevenson will play second base, shortstop and center field, sophomore Macie Jensen will play first base, second base and the outfield, freshman Emily Monterrey can play second base, shortstop and third base and freshman Desiree Gomez will play shortstop, third base and catcher.
Senior Amber Ingram, sophomore Anysia Gonzalez and freshman Sarah Garelick all play in the outfield.
The rest includes junior Emma Kerr (first base and catcher), freshman Amaya Broyls (second base and catcher), sophomore Bene Snyder (third base and utility) and sophomore Erin Lashkari (first base and utility).