By Rick Assad
A two-run first inning by the Burroughs High softball team was met with full backing by the home crowd at Olive Park on Thursday night.
Slowly but surely, Burbank chipped away at the lead, eventually evened it and in the top of the eighth scored the go-ahead and winning run as the Bulldogs earned a 4-3 victory in the Pacific League regular-season finale.
Alex Davis led off the frame with a single to right field. Up stepped senior Anysia Gonzalez, who dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt that advanced Davis to second base.
But the bunt hit the ground hard and caromed high into the air. Seeing this, the very speedy Davis pulled into third base.
Junior Desi Gomez, who singled up the middle with one out in the second, was the next batter and promptly grounded to second base which plated Davis to make it 4-3.
“I’m just lucky that I did this today,” said Davis, a junior of the winning run. “I noticed that they weren’t covering third and I wanted to take advantage of the mistakes and it ended up working.”
In the home half of the inning and facing junior Alyssa Porras, who surrendered 11 hits with a hit batter and two strikeouts across eight frames, senior Nikki Ricciardella popped up to shortstop.
Sophomore Memorie Munoz struck out looking, but junior Kaitlin Escamilla was safe on an error.
When senior Hannah Talavera fouled out to shortstop behind the third base bag, the game and victory was sealed.
Burroughs threatened to win it in the seventh inning when sophomore Chloe Bookmyer and senior Presley Miraglia each singled with one out.
But senior Jessica Amaya and junior Megan Williams each popped up to shortstop.
The Indians (13-4-1 and 12-2 for second place in league) sprinted to a 2-0 lead in the opening frame when Escamilla reached on an infield single.
Talavera then found a pitch she could handle and lined it down the left-field line and was able to circle the bases and touch home plate.
Junior Mia Storer blooped a base hit to left field. Bookmyer (three hits) also reach base on a bloop single to center field.
Miraglia lined to center field, Amaya was safe on a force out and Williams popped up to shortstop.
Burroughs made it 3-0 with a tally in the fourth as Munoz singled up the middle with one out.
Escamilla then bounced back to Porras as Munoz went to second base.
A wild pitch saw Munoz advance to third base and when Talavera was safe on an error, Munoz scored.
“We just couldn’t come out and pull the trigger,” Burroughs coach Wes Tanigawa said. “We just didn’t do what we needed to do. We had hits early. I don’t know if they got overconfident. Or that Presley was going to shut them down.”
The Bulldogs (16-11 and 10-4 for third place in league) sliced the lead to one run with a two-run fifth as senior Macie Jensen clubbed a two-out, two-run homer that found the right center field gap.
“We’re hitting. Something’s going to fall,” Burbank coach Mike Delaney said. “The way we’re hitting, it’s just a matter of time. It’s a good win going in to [the CIF playoffs]. To keep their focus is just phenomenal.”
Burbank evened it at 3-3 with a run in the sixth as Gonzalez (two hits) bashed a one-out triple to center field.
Delaney was extremely pleased with the quick-thinking Davis.
“We’ve been practicing that over the last few weeks,” Delaney noted of the intelligent base running of Davis. “Just working on being aggressive on the bases. It’s available once a game. It’s just a straight read on her part.”
Gomez then bunted back to Miraglia, and was safe on a fielder’s choice, but when she flipped the ball a little too high for Williams, the catcher, to handle, Gonzalez found the plate and it was level at 3-3.
Miraglia pitched well enough, but was loser after toiling eight innings, allowing six hits with three strikeouts.
The Indians could have scored in the second inning, but didn’t as Munoz was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to second base and third base on an error.
Munoz remained there as Talavera popped up to shortstop and Storer lined out to center field.
In the third, Bookmyer led off with a single to left field and Miraglia (three hits) singled to right field, but Amaya bounced into a double play and Williams lined to third base.
In the fifth, Miraglia singled up the middle with one out and junior pinch runner Hannah Skinner went to second base on an error and third base on an infield single by Williams.
When Ricciardella hit into a double play, the inning and threat came to a conclusion.
Junior Amaya Broyls led off the fourth inning for the Bulldogs with a single, and moved to second base on Gonzalez’s one-out base hit.
Neither scored as Davis and Gomez fanned and senior Erin Lashkari flied out to right field.