A year ago the Burroughs High softball team reached the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section playoffs before running into a team with a dominating pitcher in Temple City’s Kassandra Gewecke.
A year later the Bears ran into the same problem as they faced Fullerton High’s Malaya Majam-Finch, who is regarded by some to be the top freshman in the nation.
Producing just four baserunners, Burroughs fell to the host Indians 8-1 in the Division 4 semifinals.
“We didn’t square up well enough. I’ll give her credit,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “Our girls battled. If you look at the season as a whole, it was good.”
Burroughs (24-5) managed just one hit against Majam-Finch, a second inning double by Chloe Centeno. She came around to score as she was safe at home plate on a fielder’s choice, the first run of the game.
But from then on it was all Fullerton.
Fullerton (23-6) had at least one runner on base in every inning except for the first.
The Indians, who also have school colors of red and white like Burroughs, tied things in the bottom of the second inning when pinch runner Isabelle Gomez stole third base and scored when the attempt to throw her out went into left field.
But Burroughs never put more than one batter on base in an inning beyond the second.
Majam-Finch, who is still just 14 years old and the niece of former Olympian Jennie Finch, finished with seven strikeouts.
“I put a lot of work in during the week with my dad. I work a lot on recovery. I just trust myself in my pitches,” Majam-Finch said. “I’ve been working a lot on my mindset and how to approach the game and that has been helping a lot. I’m able to trust myself and know that what I’ve done throughout the week is going to work.”
Early on it seemed like Majam-Finch was moving the ball around and focusing on hitting specific spots in the strike zone.
“I think I got it in the end, but I wasn’t trying to cater to what he was doing and just pitch my game,” she said of the home plate umpire.
Fullerton saw its first three hitters in the fourth inning reach base. After Fullerton scored a pair to make it 3-1, first baseman Kailee Nelson hit a bases loaded double to left center field that cleared the bases.
Burroughs had a chance to get something started in the fifth inning as Alyssa Rosales led off the inning by reaching base on a throwing error. She was left stranded at second base.
The Bears had another chance as Rachel Little led off the sixth inning by reaching base on a throwing error. But she only got as far as third base.
Fullerton added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Melia Vera singled home a pair.