By Rick Assad
In what was surely a pressure-packed moment, Kiley Christopher remained calm in the batter’s box but also determined as the season rested on the senior making contact.
With runners on first and second base and none out in the seventh inning and Burroughs High down by two runs, Christopher lined a hard-hit double to right center that helped the Bears pull off an incredible come-from-behind 6-5 victory over Dos Pueblos in a CIF Southern Section Division IV second-round softball playoff game at Olive Park.
When both runners crossed the plate on Tuesday afternoon before a nearly filled park, delirium erupted as the Bears also overcame a 5-3 deficit after five and a half innings.
Burroughs (22-9 and 8-5 for third place in the Pacific League) will now play Thursday afternoon at 3:15 p.m. versus Yorba Linda (18-9) in a quarterfinal match.
The seventh frame began with senior Isabella Scozzola (three hits) slapping a single to center field.
Sophomore Gizelle Rangsiyawong, who singled in the fourth and also scored and crossed the plate three times, was safe on an error and Christopher then came up and delivered the key blow.
“I just wanted to get a base hit. Obviously, I was thinking I could hit a walk-off and it was possible, but I wasn’t trying to, so I was just thinking let me get a base hit and then get someone else up there and keep the inning going,” said Christopher, who finished with three hits.
Even though Burroughs doesn’t play Dos Pueblos (23-6 and 14-1 for first place in the Channel League) often, Christopher, who will be attending UC Riverside, expected a taut match.
“I was expecting a lot of competition because it’s CIF,” she said. “It’s so competitive and we’ve had games like this in the past, so we just stayed consistent in what we’d always done in game situations like this. I was glad we came out on top.”
An inning earlier, Burroughs, which banged out 15 hits, came within 5-4 when senior Kelsey Acosta (two hits) collected a run-scoring single up the middle.
The frame could have been much bigger as the Bears had the bases loaded and two out but senior Gigi Garcia, who reached on an infield single in the fifth inning, bounced back to the pitcher.
“The minute she hit it I knew it was over because we had a fast runner on base,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “Before we walked out there, I said I felt a walk-off. That was one of the biggest hits I’ve been a part of.”
The postseason is different from the regular season because every pitch can alter the game.
“Every play is magnified. Every batter that you get on is a rally,” Nicol said of the tenseness of every playoff game. “In the regular season, every batter is not a rally. But In the playoffs, a person gets on and it’s a rally.”
Dos Pueblos pulled ahead 5-3 after a three-run sixth inning as they cashed in on just one hit and two walks and two errors.
The only hit came off the bat of junior Isabella Nuno and it knocked in two runs.
The Chargers bolted ahead 1-0 in the first inning when senior Jessica Reveles lifted a scoring fly to shallow right field.
Dos Pueblos then tacked on another run in the second inning as junior Trisha Lo (two hits) smacked a run-tallying base hit to left field.
Burroughs chipped away at the lead with a run in the second inning on sophomore Phoebe Spangler’s sacrifice fly as Rangsiyawong, who reached on a force out, scored the run.
Two frames later, the Bears sent seven hitters to the batter’s box and burst ahead 3-2 with a two-run, four-hit fourth inning.
With two out, sophomore Mia Ramirez (three singles) drove in a run with an infield single followed by Acosta’s run-tallying infield hit.
Junior Steve Dabbadie, who delivered two singles, was the starting pitcher and went five and one-third innings, surrendering seven hits with one strikeout and four walks.
Acosta came in and was credited with the victory after tossing a no-hitter for one and two-third frames, fanning one and walking one.