By Rick Assad
Getting off to a good start is always helpful and so far, the Burbank High softball team has collected three wins with one loss and that includes Thursday’s nonleague match versus Eagle Rock at McCambridge Park.
An early 4-0 advantage in the first inning set in motion a 5-0 victory as sophomore pitcher Maddison Kellogg surrendered three hits with 13 strikeouts and one walk in a route-going seven innings.
Kellogg faced 25 batters and retired the side in order in the first, third and fourth innings and fanned five batters over that span while allowing an infield hit.
Two of the Eagles’ hits came in the seventh inning and the last came off the bat of senior Jasmine Cervantes with two outs.
On that single to center fielder Belinda Lujano, the junior leadoff hitter threw the ball on a line to senior catcher Shelby Cribbs, who applied the tag to end the night.
“This was a really good game today. I think overall what I loved the most is we played as a team,” said Cribbs, who also plays on the varsity basketball team. “Whenever we play together with all our talent, our team really shows what we can do.”
Offensively, Kellogg was supported by four hits including an opposite field, two-run homer to right by Kayla Orozco.
“I also believe our pitcher [Maddie] had a really amazing game and worked hard to keep the game where it needed to be,” Cribbs said.
The freshman saw an offering she liked from junior hurler Mia Sanchez, who toured six innings, giving up four hits with six strikeouts and five walks, and commenced to belt it over the fence.
Nine batters came to the plate in the frame and the Eagles (0-1) committed two errors.
Lujano reached on an infield miscue and then went to second base on a wild pitch.
Lujano then scurried to third base on a sacrifice bunt from junior Eliza Bowren and scored when senior Samantha Buckley was also safe on an infield error.
Buckley raced to second on a wild pitch and took third base when junior Kara Valencia (two hits) added an infield single.
When senior Sasha Quintanar bounced to first base, Buckley crossed the plate to make it 2-0.
“It was a great team win and we looked really good on defense,” Buckley said.
Orozco then connected on the line-drive homer as Quintanar also scored to make it 4-0.
“I liked that the entire team contributed to the game,” Burbank coach Melissa Sanchez said. “We laid bunts down, got hits, manufactured runs in. Kayla had the big home run over right field.”
The Bulldogs (3-1) were held at bay for four innings before tacking on a run in the sixth inning when senior Delilah Alvarado’s single to right field plated sophomore Samantha Cafferty, who drew a two-out walk.
Kellogg began the contest by getting two of the first three hitters to ground out. In between, sophomore Desi Varela struck out swinging.
In the second frame, Kellogg whiffed the side and they included Sanchez on a called strike, sophomore Marysol Jernigan on a swinging strike and Cervantes on a swinging strike.
Two Eagle Rock batters struck out in the third inning as sophomore Christina Rodriguez and senior Veronica Jaramillo both struck out swinging.
Varela led off the fourth inning by swinging at a third strike while senior Sofia Carpenter popped up and Sanchez fanned looking at a called third strike.
Kellogg added three strikeouts in the fifth inning as Jernigan and senior Hailey Rodriguez both fanned swinging while Cervantes struck out but reached base when Cribbs dropped the third strike. Christina Rodriguez ended the frame by hitting into a force out.
Kellogg struck out one batter in the sixth inning and allowed her only walk as Varela drew a two-out base on balls. Carpenter ended the stanza by hitting a fly to center field.
Kellogg retired Sanchez, the first batter of the seventh inning on a swinging strikeout and then saw Jernigan hit an infield pop up before Hailey Rodriguez singled to left field.
Rodriguez advanced to second base on a passed ball and then took third on a base hit to center by Cervantes but was erased when Cribbs applied the game-ending tag.