By Rick Assad
Maybe first inning jitters were at work as Burroughs High star pitcher Presley Miraglia gave up a run in the top of the first to Crescenta Valley, but that was the only tally as the Indians remained unbeaten in Pacific League play after walking away with a 4-1 victory on Tuesday afternoon at Olive Park.
The teams will meet at Crescenta Valley for a rematch on Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. start.
“We knew that it was going to be that kind of game,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “We’re going to have another tough game on Thursday.”
Miraglia began the first frame by striking out Jessica Yzaguirre and Kendall Ebert, but then allowed a single to left field by Syndee Wells.
Wells stole second base and advanced to third base on a base hit to left field by Alyssa Hernandez.
Wells scored on an error as the Falcons (12-7 and 8-1 in league) moved ahead 1-0. Miraglia ended the inning by striking out Paige Baker.
“I was kind of nervous to begin the game knowing what it meant,” said Miraglia, who gave up four hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks across seven innings. “After we scored [in the bottom half], I just tried to relax and focus on pitching and hitting my spots.”
Miraglia worked a perfect second inning and fanned Peyton Hause and Marissa Gutierrez.
A 1-2-3 fourth inning followed as Miraglia struck out Alyssa Hernandez and Hause, and worked another perfect frame, the fifth, as she whiffed Gutierrez.
Miraglia then fanned Hause and Taylor Hoogenhuizen, the losing pitcher who surrendered six hits with two walks in six innings, in the seventh inning.
The Indians (16-4 and 9-0 in league) evened it at 1-1 in the bottom of the first inning when Kaitlin Okimoto singled to left center with two out.
Okimoto moved to second base on an infield hit by Miraglia and crossed the plate when Brianna Johnson rifled a single to left center.
Johnson, who plays third base and has a rifle arm, was instrumental in fielding several bunts that were turned into outs.
“We practice that every day and it becomes routine,” said Johnson, who committed an uncharacteristic throwing error in the third inning. “I’m pretty quick and I try to make the throw quick.”
Three innings later, the Indians struck for two runs to make it 3-1 and were helped out by an error on the center fielder.
Johnson began the frame by walking and then took second base on a hit to right center by Isabel Frias.
With two down, Brianna Devellano then lofted a ball to shallow center field that clanked off the fielder’s glove as both runners scored.
Hannah Talavera also singled to center field in the inning, but was left stranded when Devellano was out at the plate.
The Indians added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Okimoto lined a tremendous shot to left center that sailed over Yzaguirre’s head for a home run to make it 4-1.
“I expected this meeting to be a tough, competitive game,” Okimoto said. “I think that we have real good chemistry and that helps.”