By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Same pronunciation, same last name, same team. A few letters may be different in their first names but Caitlyn Brooks and Kaitlin Brooks produced similar results as they formed a strong one-two punch on Thursday afternoon at McCambridge Park.
The firm of Brooks and Brooks led Burbank to a 4-2 win against Crescenta Valley as the defending Pacific League champions remained in first place with Burroughs at 4-0. Crescenta Valley, Glendale and Arcadia are two games off the pace at 2-2.
It was business as usual for Notre Dame-commit Caitlyn Brooks who threw a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts and walked only one.
She escaped trouble in the first inning inducing a groundout with runners on second and third with two outs to end the Falcons’ threat. In the third inning, CV had runners on first and second with one out and Brooks calmly ended the frame with a fly out and strikeout.
“I just threw my pitches and I trusted that if they hit it at my team they would get it,” Brooks said. “When you have trust, you can pretty much do anything.”
Burbank (11-3) struck in the first inning when Caitlyn Brooks doubled home Sabrina Steward who had walked earlier.
Two batters later, Kaitlin Brooks drove home pinch runner Amber Ingram on a single to left field. The 2-0 lead was all that Caitlyn Brooks needed as she methodically dissected the Falcons lineup.
“It was Caitlyn Brook’s type of game,” Burbank coach Mike Delaney said. “She took control and established her strike zone. She just goes out and takes care of her business. She works hard every day in practice.”
The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the bottom of the third inning. Consecutive singles by Julia Duarte, Kaitlin Brooks and Jazmin Orozco loaded the bases. Mandy DeLeon then hit into a 6-4-3 double play bringing home Duarte in the process.
Kaitlin Brooks, the team’s lone senior, finished the afternoon 3-for-3. Caitlyn Brooks, a junior, went 1-for-2 with two walks as CV pitched around her after getting torched by the RBI double in the first inning.
Junior Lily Winn bats behind Caitlyn Brooks in the lineup and should get plenty of opportunities to drive in runs as the season progresses.
“When teams intentionally walk Caitlyn, there is nobody else I’d rather have up there than Lily. I’m thinking, ‘pick your poison.’” said Delaney about Winn, who is hitting an astronomical .605 on the season. “She has been hitting the ball hard all year long. I’m really thrilled with her.”
The only glitches on the Burbank scorecard were three errors. Otherwise, the Bulldogs looked rather solid in all phases as they attempt to march to a second consecutive league title.
“Right now we are still a little rough around the edges but we have a confidence within us that we can improve in every aspect of the game,” said Caitlyn Brooks, who is tearing up the plate with a .548 average, 28 RBI’s and an OPS of 1.809. “I think we are doing well but we can get better.”
Caitlyn Brooks is also heating up in the circle. After giving up 11 runs in her first five starts, she has limited the opposition to only three runs in the last eight games.
Delaney, in his first season at the helm for Burbank, agreed with his ace pitcher. He likes what he sees and appreciates what he has.
“We are about 80 percent of our full potential. We still have some youngsters who are learning as we go. They are learning what it takes to play at a high level on a consistent basis,” Delaney said. “The sky is the limit. There is so much talent on this team that you see it every day in practice and in competition.”
Burbank battles Burroughs on April 24 at 6 p.m. at Olive Park.