By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Entering Thursday afternoon’s contest at Hoover, the Burroughs softball team came in riding a 9-game winning streak and undefeated in Pacific League play. When the game concluded, the Indians had pounded the Tornadoes, 15-1, in five innings (mercy rule), and extended their winning streak to 10 games including a perfect 4-0 mark in league.
Presley Miraglia and Hannah Talavera combined to toss a 4-hitter allowing no walks while striking out seven.
Burroughs jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead on six hits in the first inning. Brianna Johnson and Delaney Nicol had back-to-back singles to lead off the game followed by a double down the left field line from Kaitlin Okimoto scoring two runs. Consecutive hits by Destiny Velazquez, Brianna Devellano and Lauren Lopez brought home two more runs.
“I was really happy because we have had a tendency the last couple of times to not come out strong and not play to our level,” said Burroughs coach Doug Nicol, who rejoined the team after a one game suspension for getting ejected against Glendale last week. “Getting those first four runs was really important. It jumpstarted us and got the girls thinking of what we needed to do. We focused on hitting ground balls and line drives and that’s a reason for our success.”
“It’s really great because we knew we had to play at our level,” added Okimoto. “Just because we had a great win at CV doesn’t mean we get to slack off. It was important to get those early hits and runs for us.”
Nicol served his suspension by attending the Burroughs baseball game versus Crescenta Valley last Tuesday. Pacing back and forth behind the backstop and receiving multiple updates via texts and phone calls from supporters at the softball game, Nicol received good news when the Lady Indians won a big contest at Crescenta Valley, 8-6.
“I missed my girls the other day. It was more stressful being at the Burroughs baseball game and getting texts,” he said. “I’m glad to be back here. It’s less stress here than it was over there. It was a really tough situation. I’m really proud of my coaching staff and proud of the girls on how they stepped up. They really hit the ball that day. They fought all the elements and beat a good CV team at their house.”
Burroughs continued its hot hitting at Hoover jumping on the Tornadoes from the start and adding seven runs on seven hits in the third inning to go up 11-0. Johnson (4 for 4, two runs, two RBIs) and Delaney Nicol (2 for 3, one run, one RBI) had RBI singles during the outburst.
The Lady Indians added two runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings. When it was all said and done, they had accumulated 22 hits. Eleven different players recorded a hit.
Velazquez (two RBIs) and Kailanie Oasay each had three hits and Amanda Flores contributed two hits of her own.
“Everybody on our team can hit from the top of our lineup all the way to the bottom,” Delaney Nicol said. “We work on hitting at practice and it pays off especially against teams like this. We can get everyone in the game and it’s pretty cool to see everyone get a hit.”
A year ago, Burroughs led Division 3 with the most runs scored on the season (268). This year, they are averaging 8.5 runs per game good enough for sixth in the entire division.
With an overall record of 12-2, the Lady Indians have established themselves as a league title contender with huge games against Arcadia (April 16) and Burbank (April 23) looming in the distance.
“I couldn’t be happier. We have the highest winning percentage in Division 3,” said Nicol. “We have some young girls in really tough spots. Freshman pitcher, first-year catcher, young infield at short and second. Those girls and our seniors have really meshed well. I love the progress we are making and will continue to make.”
The Lady Indians are looking to dethrone Burbank, the two-time defending league champions. Prior to the Bulldogs recent conquest (31 consecutive league wins), Burroughs had won three straight league titles.
“This team is capable of a lot of things more than we even know right now,” Delaney Nicol said. “As long as everyone stays together and competes throughout the whole season, we will do things that a lot of people didn’t expect from us.”
Keep an eye out for the Big Red Machine.