There were twists and turns and an eventual resolution in the seventh inning when the Burroughs High softball team faced its arch and city rival Burbank at Olive Park.
A two-run explosion that featured three hits helped propel the Indians to a 5-4 come-from-behind triumph over the Bulldogs in a Pacific League encounter before a near capacity crowd on Friday night.
“It was exciting,” Burroughs coach Wes Tanigawa said of the one-run thriller. “That’s how you want games, right? You don’t want games boring?”
Tanigawa became serious and added: “I actually think the turning point is when I brought one of my sub players in and she got a great hit,” he said of junior Sabrina Englebrecht, who singled twice. “I think that really motivated the team. It was getting toward the end of the game. The girls were kind of coming down a little bit, but Sabrina coming off the bench with that hit pumped them all up and got everybody into the game.”
Sophomore Dyani Del Castillo began the frame with a bloop single to right field off senior Alyssa Porras and sophomore Alyssa Valenzuela’s hit to left saw Del Castillo advance to second base.
Porras struck out senior Citlali Mendez swinging, but nicked senior Megan Williams, which loaded the bases.
Englebrecht lashed a sharp base hit to center that brought home Del Castillo with the tying run and when senior Hannah Skinner lofted a sacrifice fly to left field, Valenzuela, who contributed three singles, crossed the plate with the winning run.
“I felt calm. l knew I was there already. Runners on really didn’t faze me,” said Skinner of her clutch at-bat in the seventh. “I already had a few hits before, so I knew what I was doing. I knew what she was throwing. When she was throwing all that junk, I knew she was tired at that point. I just stayed on it,” she noted.
Skinner, who singled twice, said that she was somewhat nervous early in the game, but then relaxed.
“It’s always the nerves that get us,” she said. “It’s just the nerves that get to both teams, but I calmed down as the game went on.”
The Bulldogs (4-6-2 and 3-3 in league) leaped ahead 4-3 in the top of the seventh when Porras (two hits) opened the frame with a double to center field off Del Castillo.
Del Castillo’s wild pitch moved Porras to third base and when sophomore Victoria Sanchez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, Burbank pulled ahead by one run.
Burroughs, which finished with 14 hits, scored two runs in the first inning as Del Castillo’s double to left field brought home senior Mia Storer, who delivered a bloop single to left for a 1-0 edge.
It became 2-0 on Valenzuela’s base hit up the middle as senior Sierra Harvey, who singled, crossed home plate.
The Bulldogs, who managed five hits, evened it at 2-2 in the second inning as the Indians (7-5 and 5-1 in league) committed three of their four errors.
“It seemed like we played pepper with the left side of their infield today for the first few innings,” Burbank coach Mike Delaney said. “You’ve just got to be able to make some adjustments, but it took us a long time to figure that out. It’s an innings game. You can’t waste innings.”
Delaney, who saw his club commit two miscues, continued: “There was a good ebb and flow to the game. We rattled them and they rattled us. Hats off to them. They executed when they had to,” he said. “We battled and that’s what I love about this team. They find ways to score. Every single inning has to matter.”
Senior Izzy Sanchez had a run-scoring infield hit in the top of the second frame that scored sophomore Erika Montoya, who led off with a triple to right field.
In the bottom half of the second, Burroughs reclaimed the lead, 3-2, when Storer’s bloop base hit to center field plated Skinner, who singled to left field.
Burbank evened it at 3-3 with a run in the fifth inning when senior Alex Davis lined a bullet to center field that eluded Storer as she raced around the bases for a home run.
In the sixth inning, Storer made a spectacular diving catch of a potential double or perhaps triple off the bat of Montoya.
Del Castillo was the winning pitcher after working seven innings, striking out one, walking two and hitting a batter.
Del Castillo induced Davis and senior Amaya Broyls to bounce out to third base in the first inning and after hitting senior Desi Gomez with a pitch, saw sophomore Lily Stell ground out to third.
Del Castillo set down the order in the third inning when Broyls was out after making contract with the ball while out of the batter’s box, Gomez popped to second base and Stell flied to right field.
Del Castillo tossed another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth when Montoya grounded to shortstop, while junior Tiffany Estrada and Izzy Sanchez each bounced back to the box.
Del Castillo’s third perfect frame was the sixth as Montoya lined to center field, while Estrada bounced to third base and Izzy Sanchez grounded to shortstop.
Porras was tagged with the setback, fanning four and hitting three batters across seven innings.
Porras allowed at least one hit in every inning except the fifth when she faced four batters, with Del Castillo the only base runner after getting hit with the pitch.
Part of the 14-hit Indians’ offensive barrage included base hits for Williams and senior Morgan Mersola.