By Rick Assad
It’s certainly possible but it seems unlikely that anyone has had a better all-around performance by a Burroughs High softball player than Stevie Dabbadie did against Burbank.
In two previous meetings between these longtime rivals, each school won so Thursday night’s clash at nearly filled McCambridge Park was the tiebreaker and Dabbadie, who bashed three hits including two doubles came through in grand style as she provided the go-ahead and winning homer to left field that soared over the fence in the seventh inning for a heart-stopping 3-2 Pacific League win.
Making matters even sweeter for Dabbadie is that the junior was in the circle for seven innings and was the winning pitcher.
Burroughs took the first meeting 6-1 but Burbank rebounded with a 4-2 victory in the second game.
“It feels so good because recently I’ve been struggling. This is such a big game, and this is the best day ever,” said Dabbadie of her leadoff homer. “I was just trying to get a hit but when you just relax it happens. It was the best moment ever. Staying calm and keeping the energy up and it all worked out in the end.”
Dabbadie, who allowed five hits with four walks while striking out five, spoke about her time in the circle.
“It was just between me and my catcher [junior Rachel Little] and we have so much trust between us,” she said. “It’s just such a good bond and I just keep looking at her and just try to block them and just think this is my game and I got this.”
In terms of excitement and thrills, this contest had everything including drama.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Bears (19-9 and 8-5 for third place in league) loaded the bases with one out but failed to score off freshman Maddison Kellogg who struck out sophomore Mia Ramirez and induced Little to line out to left field.
Kellogg yielded eight hits including four that went for extra-bases across seven innings, fanning three, walking two and hitting a batter.
“Our team all year has been about sometimes making mistakes here and there but fighting back and never giving up and always trusting each other and having each other’s back,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “And when we didn’t get any runs in that inning most teams would fold but our team didn’t fold. We’ve been in that situation a million times and we knew if we could get up there with a chance to win this game, we were going to. The girls said yesterday in practice we weren’t going to lose this game tonight.”
Nicol believes what Dabbadie did overall will be remembered for a long time.
“I will say that the game by Stevie Dabbadie is one of the greatest games ever by a Burroughs softball player. Two doubles, a home run and pitching in the circle,” he said.
Neither team managed to score a run in the first two innings but in the top of the third inning senior Kelsey Acosta (two hits) doubled to right center to begin the frame.
Ramirez popped to second base and Little popped to shortstop, but Dabbadie drilled a run-scoring double to left center that made it 1-0.
An inning later the lead became 2-0 on a two-out single from Acosta that scored sophomore Gizelle Rangsiyawong, who reached on a one-out single to left field.
The Bulldogs (12-16 and 5-8 for fifth in league) answered the bell in the bottom of the fourth inning as six batters made their way to the plate including senior Hannah Zacariaz who sliced a two-run single to right field.
In that frame, Burbank put together three hits and aside from Zacariaz, they came off the bats of senior Elizabeth Zamora who led off with a single and junior Samantha Buckley who clubbed a booming double to left field.
“That was our first-time seeing Stevie and our girls handled it very well,” Burbank coach Melissa Sanchez said. “They put the ball in play and got on base. The girls battled till the end, and we were in it till the end.”
Sanchez, who knows about this rivalry because she played for the Bulldogs, sees nothing but bright skies for this team.
“Overall, I’m very proud of the way my girls played,” she said. “And like I’ve said before I wouldn’t want it any other way. Once again Maddie pitched a phenomenal game. Our defense was stellar and sometimes it doesn’t go your way. Now it’s time to focus on the playoffs next week.”
The only inning each pitcher tossed a perfect frame was the first as Ramirez fanned while Little lined back to Kellogg and Dabbadie lofted a ball to left field.
Dabbadie induced sophomore Belinda Lujano to ground to shortstop and then fanned Zamora swinging. The third out was registered when Buckley hit a fly ball to right.
Dabbadie faced only three batters in the second inning after getting Zacariaz to hit into a double play that erased sophomore Kara Valencia, who walked after junior Sasha Quintanar skied to center field.
Senior Isabella Scozzola singled for the Bears in the top of the first and took second after senior Kiley Christopher drew a walk but was stranded there.
Christopher singled with one out in the sixth inning and took second on a walk to senior Kaynan Chrysikos and third base on a wild pitch but advanced no further.
Junior Delilah Alvarado singled with two out in the third inning for the Bulldogs but was left on base when Lujano bounced to second base and Valencia singled to right field with two down in the sixth inning and took second on an error but didn’t advance any further.