By Rick Assad
Three hitters reached base via base hits and accounted for four overall hits and two others lifted sacrifice flies for the Burroughs High softball team, but the key statistic was four errors committed by Burbank on Wednesday night at a jammed-packed Olive Park.
This was just enough offense on a warm evening when the Bulldogs managed three hits as the Bears were victorious 6-1 in a Pacific League encounter.
These two longtime rivals will meet two more times during the regular season. Burroughs hosts Burbank on April 19 and travels to the Bulldogs on April 28.
Burroughs spotted the Bulldogs (11-11 and 4-3 in league) a run in the first inning when junior Samantha Buckley lined a one-out single to left field and then took second base on the throw off pitcher senior Kelsey Acosta, who went seven innings, striking out six, walking one and hitting three batters, that scored sophomore Belinda Lujano, who opened the frame with a single to left.
Burroughs coach Doug Nicol has been a part of many of these games.
“They’ve got a good pitcher [Maddison Kellogg] and they’ve got a good team. Every time we play Burbank-Burroughs, it’s always going to be a battle,” he said. “They’re well coached. Mel [Melissa Sanchez] does a great job with their team. We knew coming in, it was going to be hard up to the last out. You saw the fight they had. I’m really proud of my girls. They really worked hard. They faced a lot of adversity these last few weeks. They really came together today.”
Nicol said he changed the strategy midstream. “We were very aggressive. We decided after the first time through [the lineup] to play a little more small ball,” he said. “So we decided to make a commitment to play more small ball and we did that. We practiced that a lot and we worked on bunting because we knew bunting was going to be important in a close game.”
The lead evaporated in the three-run, two-hit third frame when Acosta and senior Kaynan Chrysikos both reached base on errors.
A run crossed the plate when sophomore Mia Ramirez dropped down a bunt that tied it at 1-1 off freshman Kellogg, who went six innings, and another run came in on a sacrifice fly to right field by senior Gigi Garcia that made it 2-1. A booming double to left by senior Isabella Scozzola stretched the advantage to 3-1.
“Maddison pitched a phenomenal game. As a freshman in her first Burbank-Burroughs game, she pitched her heart out,” Sanchez said. “She executed our game plan going into this game. Unfortunately, the errors hurt us.”
Sanchez saw a number of bright spots despite the loss. “I am proud of our girls. The way these girls prepared for this game was fun to see,” she said. “These girls were fired up from the first inning to the last. They played with pride and passion. We will continue to work and continue to play hard. Our fans were amazing! I love being a part of the Bulldog family and wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The next two innings were quiet for the Bears (15-6 and 4-2 in league), but not the sixth.
In that stanza, seven batters trotted to the plate including sophomore Gizelle Rangsiyawong, who was safe on a run-scoring bunt and senior Kiley Christopher’s run-producing sacrifice fly to center field.
After allowing a run in the first, Acosta worked a 1-2-3 second frame as she saw senior Hannah Zacariaz ground out to third base, junior Sasha Quintanar line out to center field and sophomore Eliza Bowren being called out on strikes.
Acosta fashioned another perfect frame in the third as junior Shelby Cribbs lined to shortstop, Lujano popped to second base and senior Elizabeth Zamora bounced to third base.
The next inning began with Buckley smacking a single to left center but was erased when sophomore Kara Valencia bounced into a double play. The fourth ended when Acosta fanned junior Emma Mendoza swinging.
A 1-2-3 fifth stanza followed as Acosta struck out Zacariaz swinging, induced Quintanar to line to right field and saw Bowren called out on strikes.
The sixth inning began with Cribbs striking out swinging. Lujano was hit with the pitch, but Zamora popped to shortstop and Buckley lined out to center field.
After getting Valencia out on a grounder to third base to begin the seventh, Acosta nicked Mendoza with an offering and walked Zacariaz. The bases were filled when Quintanar was hit with the pitch.
There was some restlessness in the stands, and some optimism in the other side, but Acosta then saw Bowren line to second base and Cribbs popped to second base to secure the game.
Of Kellogg’s six innings, three were perfect frames and they included the first, fourth and fifth.
In the initial inning, Ramirez fanned swinging, junior Rachel Little lined to left field and junior Stevie Dabbadie lofted a ball to center field.
In the fourth, Rangsiyawong and Christopher both grounded to shortstop and Acosta bounced back to Kellogg, who struck out two and walked two.
In the fifth inning, junior Laurel Piper struck out swinging, Ramirez fouled to first base and Little lined to left field.