By Rick Assad
In a softball game that won’t soon be forgotten, Burbank High pulled off an incredible 4-2 Pacific League win over city rival Burroughs on Tuesday night at Olive Park with the stands filled and enthusiastic fans sitting on both sides of the aisle.
The Bulldogs hammered out 10 hits compared to six for the Bears on Senior Night and led from the get-go and also snapped a three-game losing streak.
The pitching was extremely close as freshman Maddison Kellogg and senior Kelsey Acosta went toe-to-toe.
Kellogg struck out six and walked two across seven frames and had a perfect seventh inning.
“Maddy was once again outstanding in the circle,” Burbank coach Melissa Sanchez said of her ace right-hander.
Acosta also tossed seven innings, fanning seven while walking one, hitting a batter and working a perfect second and third innings.
Ahead by just one run, 3-2, Burbank (12-13 and 5-5 in league) added an insurance tally in the seventh inning on an obstruction call at second base which allowed senior Elizabeth Zamora, who was tagged out at home plate by junior catcher Rachel Little, to score and make it a two-run affair.
The frame began with junior Samantha Buckley lining out to left field, but sophomore Belinda Lujano followed with a solid single to right field.
Junior Sasha Quintanar (two hits that included a double) rifled a single to left field that moved Zamora to second base, but the ball slipped past the fielder.
Zamora was impeded and had to slow down, but was directed by Sanchez, who is in her third season at the helm, to continue around the bases.
After conferring with the field umpire, the plate umpire ruled the run to count.
In many ways, the game was a back-and-forth affair as the Bears had the bases filled in the second inning, but failed to score.
Burroughs senior Kiley Christopher (two hits), who led off with a single to center field in the sixth inning, was called out at third on a throw from junior catcher Shelby Cribbs after an attempted steal with one out.
“That was a designed play, but it just didn’t work,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said.
Matters started off splendidly for the Bulldogs who sent six batters to the plate in the first inning.
Lujano, who turned in an incredible diving catch off the bat of sophomore Gizelle Rangsiywong with runners on first and second and two out in the third inning, smacked a hit up the middle.
Two batters later, Buckley blooped a single to center field as Lujano raced to second base. An infield hit by Zamora filled the bases and Quintanar’s ground ball made it 1-0.
Burbank’s advantage swelled to 3-0 after a two-run, three-hit fourth inning as eight hitters made their way to the dish.
Sophomore Eliza Bowren (two hits) had a run-scoring single to right field and two batters later Lujano (two hits) added an infield hit that plated another run.
Burroughs (17-8 and 6-4 in league) is talented and strong-willed and as such was not about to call it a night.
“I thought there were plays we usually make that we didn’t make tonight that led to some runs,” Nicol said of the match. “We will clean it up and be ready for the rubber match.”
Sanchez was pleased with how the evening shaped up.
“My girls came out relaxed and looking to take it back to the way it should be, which is having fun,” she said. “We have stuck together throughout these last couple of games. They brought the sticks today and that was the big factor in this win.”
From Sanchez’s perspective, everyone, including those who didn’t play, were essential.
“My girls on the bench, sophomore [Grace] Workman, junior [Emma] Mendoza and junior [Delilah] Alvarado were cheering and keeping the girls fired up,” she said.
Sanchez went on: “I can sit here and point out all the good things we did like Belinda with a huge diving catch in center field, Shelby throwing the tying run out in the third and Eliza with two big hits, Sasha with the big RBIs,” she said. “They all contributed.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Burroughs showed signs of life as senior Gigi Garcia ripped a colossal one-out triple to right center that scored junior Stevie Dabbadie, (singled in the first inning), who reached on an error.
Garcia touched home plate when senior Isabella Scozzola (singled in the third) lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that made it 3-2.
Sanchez also played for Burbank and it made this win especially sweet.
“That was my first win against Burroughs! It feels like I’m playing again in this rivalry. It took me back many years when I won my first Burbank-Burroughs game as a player,” she said. “These girls deserve all the fame! I am always going to have their backs and go out to battle with them.”
Senior Kaynan Chrysikos singled with two out in the second inning for the Bears but was left stranded.
Sophomore Kara Valencia had a two-out base hit in the fifth inning for the Bulldogs but didn’t score.