Burbank Softball Holds Off Burroughs 5-3

Kara Valencia drives in four runs and collects a homer and a triple, Eliza Bowren adds two hits and Maddison Kellogg strikes out 14 for the Bulldogs.

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Burbank's celebration was on after Kara Valencia's two-run homer in the first inning. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

By Rick Assad

With Senior Night as the background and a full house looking on at Olive Park, a Pacific League softball game was played between Burbank High and Burroughs and it proved to be everything that it was billed up to be.

There was a two-run home run in the first inning, each starting pitcher went the distance and after seven innings were contested, the Bulldogs pulled off a 5-3 victory over the favored Bears on Wednesday night.

In the opening frame, Kara Valencia sent an offering from senior pitcher Emerson Coblentz, who will play softball for the University of Hawaii and allowed six hits with five strikeouts and a walk, over the right center field fence that drove in senior Eliza Bowren, (two hits), who bashed a one-out single to center field.

Two innings later, Valencia was at it again as she scorched a hard-hit triple to center field that plated two more runners.

“I loved this game. Great plays and I am so proud of my team and myself overall,” said Valencia, a senior who will attend Chico State University. “It was just a great way to end the season and bring that mojo into our Pacific League tournament.”

Katie Taix is the pitching coach and assistant coach for the Bears (18-5 and 6-1 in league).

“Honestly, they came to hit today. Emerson made adjustments in the third inning and went on to hold them down,” she said. “After the third inning, she held them. We just needed to settle earlier in the game.”

At one point in the game, Coblentz retired 12 straight batters and had two strikeouts.

Burroughs second baseman Skylar Vanole gets the out in a Pacific League game versus Burbank. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Melissa Sanchez is Burbank’s coach and was ready for a battle.

“We came in strong with Eliza’s big one-out hit and Kara’s homer. It was very important to get momentum before them,” she said. “That was the plan for us, and the girls made it happen.”

After three innings, the Bulldogs (11-10 and 5-2 in league) held a 5-0 lead, but the Bears were not about to hang their heads.

“The past two weeks we have had a habit of giving up runs early,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “You can’t do that against a good pitcher. Maddie was excellent. All the credit in the world to her.”

Burroughs struck for two runs on two hits in the fifth inning off junior Maddison Kellogg, who yielded six hits and three walks and one hit batter and struck out 14.

Senior Eliza Torres was hit by a pitch to begin the frame and advanced to second base on an infield single by junior Alyssa Morales.

Sophomore Karlee Earl then laced a single to left field that scored a run and made it 5-1.

The second run of the frame crossed home plate on Kellogg’s wild pitch.

The other run that Kellogg allowed came in the seventh inning as senior Phoebe Spangler, who has a .754 batting average, 10 home runs, and 30 runs batted in, drilled a single to left center that scored senior Gizelle Rangsiyawong (two hits), who walloped a one-out double to left center.

Kellogg faced seven batters in the stanza and after Spangler’s hit, senior Alyssa Rosales drew a two-out walk.

The contest was concluded after Kellogg fanned freshman Sophie Rangsiyawong, who doubled down the left-field line in the third inning, on a called third strike.

Maddison Kellogg went seven innings, fanned 14, walked three and allowed six hits against the Bears. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Even with the setback, Nicol feels that this squad will bounce back.

“I know this team, and I think this has the potential to be a good loss for us in the long run,” he pointed out. “There were a lot of positives. Just could not finish the comeback.”

Nicol, who hopes for a long run in the CIF Southern Section playoffs, continued: “I’m looking forward to possibly playing them again. Proud of my team for their fight and perseverance,” he said. “We are still the No. 1 seed in the league tournament, and we have a lot to play for.” 

Sanchez figured that the Bears would not give up.

“It got a bit interesting at times when they loaded the bases. However, Maddy being Maddy took us out of it,” she said. “[Junior] Samantha [Cafferty] had a diving play at second [base] that was huge. It was a big out for us in the seventh inning when Burroughs got some momentum going.”

Sanchez also knows that she has a good team, and they are capable of winning on any day.

“I am beyond proud of the way the girls played. We were the underdogs coming into this game against an undefeated Burroughs team,” she said. “I told the girls we are all we got, and we are all we need. We all believed in each other and came together to pull off this win.”

Sanchez added: “Burroughs is always a tough team and has become a top contender in the Pacific League,” she noted. “They have big hitters on that team, so we needed to be at our best. I’m so proud of the girls.”

Freshman Chloe Updike had a single in the third inning and a double in the seventh for the Bulldogs.