By Rick Assad
After eight and a half innings, the nonleague softball game between Burbank High and Quartz Hill was deadlocked on Friday afternoon at McCambridge Park.
That is until two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning when junior Kara Valencia wacked a ball to deep left center field for a run-scoring triple that brought home the go-ahead and winning run for a 3-2 decision.
“Our girls will always fight until the end. We knew we just had to execute and manufacture a couple runs,” Burbank coach Melissa Sanchez said. “My girls know they are a powerful offensive team.”
The frame began innocently enough as sophomore Maddison Kellogg, who went seven innings with four hits allowed, 12 strikeouts and three walks (one intentional), fanned swinging.
Senior Samantha Buckley, who singled in the fifth inning, also whiffed for the second out, but senior Tatiana Pisa rapped a single to left field.
Valencia, who in her other at-bats grounded out in the first inning, the third inning and the sixth, singled to center field in the eighth, before her dramatic final plate appearance against freshman Dakota Ponder.
“Once we were tied, we stuck to our game plan to sit out the top four batters,” Sanchez said. “We stayed confident and played together and we got the win.”
Burbank freshman Kayla Orozco entered the game in the top of the eighth inning and was credited with the win. Orozco went two frames and allowed a single with one strikeout and one walk.
The Royals (7-4) struck first with a two-hit, two-run fourth inning as they sent seven batters to the plate.
The frame began with senior Jazmin Avila drawing a walk as did sophomore Enedina Sepulveda.
Senior Skyler Billups then laced a hit to left field for a run batted in and the second run scored on a wild pitch.
Through four innings, the Bulldogs (10-4) managed two singles off junior pitcher Kaylei Victoria who went two frames and junior Payton Marlin, who worked six innings.
Senior Sasha Quintanar led off the second inning with a base hit to right field.
Quintanar went to second base when senior Delilah Alvarado drew a two-out base on balls and the threat ended when senior Shelby Cribbs hit into a force out.
In the fourth inning, junior Eliza Bowren slapped a one-out hit to right field, but Alvarado grounded out.
A two-run, two-hit sixth inning for Burbank evened the match as Alvarado’s force out scored a run that cut the lead to 2-1 and a single to center field by Cribbs leveled it at 2-2.
“The game overall was very strong,” Cribbs said. “There were little mistakes that could have changed the way the game was played. Overall though the team worked together, fought hard and had fun.”
Cribbs then added: “We went strong for nine innings and had a battle and it ended up taking the victory,” she said. “I liked the cheering and support all our players and coaches had with each other.”
Kellogg stood tall in the circle as she retired the side in order in the first inning, second, third, sixth, seventh and ninth inning.
In the second, Kellogg allowed a leadoff single to center by Billips, but then fanned junior Mya Gonzalez, Victoria and junior Madison Heeter, all swinging.
Kellogg fanned junior Bianca Riyborz in the third stanza and added a strikeout in the fourth inning as Marlin fanned swinging.
A sixth strikeout victim came in the fifth inning as Kellogg, who had a base hit in the fifth inning, took care of sophomore Ashley Rudziewicz swinging.
Kellogg fanned three batters swinging in the sixth inning and they were Marlin, Heeter and freshman Ruth Carlos.
In the seventh, Kellogg struck out junior Olivia Jones and Avila, both swinging and fanned her last batter with one out in the ninth.