By Rick Assad
In any softball game and especially against a very good team, the advantage usually swings to the squad that has more runners on base.
A tight one was on display when Burbank High faced off against El Camino Real at McCambridge Park on Tuesday afternoon.
The Bulldogs managed five base hits and received one walk while the Royals slapped out six hits including a triple and drew three walks and a hit batter, and it resulted in a 3-1 nonleague victory.
“I think the girls have continued to play the good teams hard. We never go out without a fight,” Burbank coach Melissa Sanchez said. “I tip my hat to a well-coached El Camino Real team. We left a bunch of runners on base and just came up short on hits. I’m very proud of the way my girls have been playing against these tough teams.”
Sanchez added: “We are taking a little bit of each game with us and bringing it all into each game moving forward,” she said.
Freshman Maddison Kellogg pitched well for the Bulldogs (10-9) over seven innings as she struck out six and walked three while hitting a batter.
“Maddison pitched amazingly. By scoring early she gained more confidence,” Sanchez said. “As a freshman pitching to a solid team like El Camino Real, I couldn’t be more proud!”
El Camino Real’s senior Brooke DeSmet took the win after fanning three across seven frames.
Early on it appeared the match would be tight as the Bulldogs, who had 10 players in uniform compared to 16 for the Royals, scored a run in the first inning when sophomore Kara Valencia singled to center field with two out.
Senior Elizabeth Zamora, who reached on a one-out walk and went to second base on a wild pitch, made it 1-0 on Valencia’s hit.
Valencia took second base on the throw, but senior Hannah Zacariaz grounded out to third base to end the inning.
The Royals (9-2) evened it at 1-1 in the third inning when senior Camryn Fritz, who had three hits, lined a sacrifice fly to center field as senior Briana Gaskill, who was safe on an infield hit, crossed the plate.
An inning later, El Camino Real pulled ahead 2-1 on a sacrifice bunt by junior Amber Rivas. Senior Sofia Fisher, who led off the frame with a single to left field scored.
The Royals’ advantage swelled to 3-1 in the fifth as Fritz tripled to left center as senior Hannah DiGenova, who was safe on a one-out single to left field, scored.
The Bulldogs went down 1-2-3 in the second inning as sophomore Eliza Bowren grounded to second base and junior Sasha Quintanar fanned swinging. Junior Shelby Cribbs then popped to shortstop to cap the frame.
Like the first inning when Burbank sent five batters to the plate, five trotted to the dish in the third inning. Kellogg was safe on an error and took second on a wild pitch but was erased at third base.
Sophomore Belinda Lujano struck out looking, but Zamora lashed a hit to left field and then stole second base.
Junior Samantha Buckley walked, however, Valencia whiffed swinging.
In the fourth, Zacariaz popped to second base. Bowren dropped a single to right field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Cribbs then flied to left for the last out.
Kellogg led off the fifth inning by lifting a fly to center field, but Lujano singled to center.
Lujano raced to second base when Zamora was safe on a fielder’s choice. Buckley lined to left field and Valencia bounced into a force out to close the frame.
Zacariaz reached on an error in the sixth inning and a sacrifice bunt by Bowren sent her to second base.
Zacariaz moved to third on a wild pitch, but Quintanar flied to left field and Cribbs lined to third base for the third out.
The seventh inning began with Kellogg driving a fly ball to right field. Lujano then singled to right.
Zamora lined to center field for the second out and Buckley’s grounder to third base ended the game.