By Rick Assad
Being ranked the No. 1 softball team in the CIF Southern Section Division IV the last two weeks has made Burroughs High even more determined to play at a high level.
This seemed to be the case after defeating defending Pacific League champion Arcadia 6-1 on Tuesday afternoon at Olive Park.
The victory by the Bears over the Apaches and a 5-2 triumph against highly regarded Camarillo on February 18 in a tournament game are the two best wins Burroughs (17-2 and 6-0 in league) has had to date, according to Doug Nicol, the longtime coach.
“In all three phases, it’s the top game of the year along with Camarillo earlier in the year,” he said. “We had some adversity yesterday with Gizelle [Rangsiyawong] being out, but we shifted around the middle infield. [Junior] Sklyar [Vanole] and [senior] Lilly [Lewis] just played fabulous.”
Nicol doesn’t want to look too far ahead.
“They’re really good and they work together. The potential for success further down the road is incredible,” he noted. “We look ahead one game.”
On Friday, the Bears will host Burbank at Olive Park and the game will begin at 6 p.m.
Considering the team was without junior infielder Rangsiyawong, the win is even more impressive.
All three facets were on display as pitching, hitting and defense were spotlighted.
Stevie Dabbadie was a two-way threat as the senior pitcher allowed six hits with nine strikeouts and one walk across seven innings and also singled three times.
“Everyone knows that this team is a very solid team, so I came out and I stuck to what I know and I didn’t overdo everything with my mechanics,” Dabbadie said. “I just tried my hardest.”
Junior Phoebe Spangler added a triple and two singles and drove in four runs.
Sophomore Chloe Centeno bagged two singles and two runs batted in.
The Bears wasted no time as they sent seven batters to the plate in the first inning and scored two runs as senior Rachel Little led off with an infield hit.
“The early lead was very important for us. We knew this game was huge and it was going to be a tough game to win,” Little said. “It’s always a great battle when we play Arcadia. Our plan was to come out aggressive and get that early lead so we could be successful through the rest of the game.”
In the fourth inning, Little drilled a ball that appeared to be a sure extra-base hit, but the fielder delivered an incredible grab.
“The left fielder definitely made an amazing catch over her shoulder,” Little said. “It’s disappointing she robbed my hit, but she deserves all the credit for her catch.”
After Lewis lined to second base, Dabbadie smacked a single to left field as Little took second base.
Pinch runner sophomore Alyssa Morales entered for Dabbadie, but Centeno fouled out to the catcher. Spangler then ripped a hard-hit triple to center field that scored both runs.
Two innings later, the Bears extended the margin to 4-0 with a two-run, three-hit attack as Dabbadie singled up the middle with one out.
Morales came in for Dabbadie, stole second base and scored when Centeno singled and took second an error.
When Spangler mashed a run-scoring single to right field it became 4-0.
After Lewis was out catcher to first base, Dabbadie bashed her third single of the day to center field in the fifth inning.
The lead jumped to 5-1 when Centeno drilled a double to center and when Spangler chipped in with an infield hit, Centeno, who went to third base on a wild pitch, scooted home for a 6-1 edge.
The Apaches (15-4 and 4-1 in league) scored their only run in the fourth inning when freshman Peyton Fox (two singles) laced a base hit to right center.
Fox scored when junior Sophia Herrera knocked in a run with a base hit to center field.
Burroughs, which owns an eight-game winning streak, has just a handful of games left on its schedule and is peaking at just the right time. The playoffs are going to be an exciting time for the Bears.