Tag Archives: Burbank Softball

Burbank Tosses 2-0 Shutout Against Arcadia

By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor

Searching for its first league title since 1987, the Burbank softball team took another step in that direction with a hard fought 2-0 victory against Arcadia on Thursday afternoon at McCambridge Park. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in CIF Division III, found a way to record another win despite struggling at the plate the entire game.

Caitlyn Brooks

Caitlyn Brooks

On a day when BHS only mustered three hits total, the tremendous pitching of sophomore Caitlyn Brooks carried the Bulldogs to their 12th win of the season. Brooks posted her fifth shutout of the year yielding only four hits, no walks and striking out 10 Apaches. On the year she has 172 strikeouts in 87 innings and a 0.40 ERA with teams batting a meager .131 off of her.

Scoreless through four innings, Burbank (12-1, 5-0) broke through when Arcadia pitcher McKenzie Grimes began to struggle with her command. Grimes walked Katie Hooper and Kaitlin Brooks and allowed a single to Lily Winn to load the bases. The Bulldogs took advantage of Grimes’ ineffectiveness and scored two runs courtesy of walks to the next two batters.

Defensively the Bulldogs were very strong with only one error committed as well as turning a couple nice double plays that ended potential threats by Arcadia (8-4, 2-2).

The Bulldogs turned two double plays in the win (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Bulldogs turned two double plays in the win (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Defensively we played our best game of the year with two doubles plays to add to our total of six on the year,” Burbank Coach Nicole Drabecki said. “It’s about getting out the advanced runner and having confidence in your ability that you don’t hesitate and just react.”

Laina Do was 2 for 3 with two stolen bases and a run scored. Kaitlin Brooks had three walks and one RBI. Hooper had two walks and one RBI and Winn was 1 for 3 with a stolen base.

Arcadia forces out a Burbank runner at home plate (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Arcadia forces out a Burbank runner at home plate (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank plays Muir next Tuesday and then faces three-time defending league champion Burroughs on Thursday at McCambridge Park at 6 p.m. The Indians are a game behind the Bulldogs in the league standings.

“I’m so proud of our team and their work ethic,” Drabecki said. “They deserve every victory as they work their butts off in practice. They are a joy to coach every day.”

Burbank Softball Slinging for League Title

Burbank Softball 2013 (Photos by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Softball 2013 (Photos by Ross A. Benson)


By Rick Assad
Special to BurbankNBeyond

Coach Nicole Drabecki

Coach Nicole Drabecki

To say the Burbank High softball team is loaded would be like saying the New York Yankees have a high payroll, and just like the Bronx Bombers, who usually own a winning record, so do the Bulldogs who are gunning for the Pacific League crown this year.

Burbank reached the CIF Division III quarterfinals last season after knocking off Arroyo Grande 6-1, La Reina 1-0, Downey 1-0, before losing to Bishop Amat, 10-4.

“We are hoping to be the favorite for the Division III title,” said Burbank Coach Nicole Drabecki, who has one of the most potent lineups in the division.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 2012 campaign in which they batted .409 with 99 extra-base hits, had a .640 slugging percentage, a .480 on-base percentage, and carved out a 23-7 mark with an 11-3 record and second place in league.

So don’t be surprised if Burbank piles up runs and even surpasses last season’s 8.5 runs per contest.

Katie Hooper

Katie Hooper

Drabecki, in her sixth season, is thankful to have several quality batters who are capable of hitting for a high average and driving in runs like senior Katie Hooper, who was selected to the all-league, first-team a year ago after pacing the Bulldogs with a .467 batting average along with 11 homers and 42 hits.

“She’s one of the most feared hitters in the area,” said Drabecki of Hooper, a tri-captain who has signed with Cal State University, Northridge.

Hooper is primarily an outfielder, but will also see time as the designated hitter and as a utility player.

Sophomore Caitlyn Brooks is the ace on the pitching staff after winning 16 games in 2012.

“Caitlyn is one of the best pitchers in the country,” said Drabecki of the tri-captain, who struck out 180 batters and saw opposing batters hit a paltry .196 against her.

Caitlyn Brooks

Caitlyn Brooks

Brooks, who has made a verbal commitment to the University of Notre Dame, and was third on the team with a .429 batting average along with five home runs and 36 hits, will also see action at first base and DH.

Senior Laina Do will play shortstop and second base and made all-league, second-team after pacing Burbank with 20 stolen bases and had a .444 batting average, which was second best on the team.

“Laina is one of the fastest players on the team,” said Drabecki of Do, who has signed with Yale and is a tri-captain.

Senior Ashley Russo will play center field, pitch, be used as a utility player and batted .377 with 29 hits, 14 runs batted in and was named all-league, second-team.

Kaitlin Brooks

Kaitlin Brooks

Junior Kaitlin Brooks will play in a utility capacity, and is a steady defender.

“She’s one of the better fielders and batted .359 with 28 hits and 16 runs batted in,” Drabecki said.

Sophomore Lily Winn will play in the infield, outfield and toil as a catcher after finishing last season with a .354 batting average and 13 stolen bases.

“Lily’s a hustler and a great communicator,” Drabecki said.

Senior Tiffany Pisa will see time in the outfield, first base and also be used in a utility role after belting six doubles with six stolen bases and a .294 batting average.

Sophomore Jazmin Orozco will be behind the plate, see time at third base, be employed as a utility player and closed out last season with a .404 batting average along with 10 RBIs and 19 hits.

Sophomore Bridgette Pisa is the starting catcher and threw out seven base runners.

Bridgette Pisa

Bridgette Pisa

“Bridgette has one of the stronger arms on the team,” said Drabecki of Pisa, who will also be in the outfield, play third base and be used as a utility player.

Offensively, Pisa should make significant strides in the batter’s box after hitting .257 last season.

Junior Dakota Briseno will play in the outfield and be used in a utility role.

“She’s one of the fastest players on the team,” Drabecki said. “I’m hoping for her to improve the outfield.”

Freshman Julia Duarte has the talent to make an immediate impact.

“She has lots of potential,” said Drabecki. “She might be the designated hitter.”

Junior Leslie Arreola will see action in the outfield and infield, and should be a force despite this being her first season at the varsity level. Sophomore Allyson Capili will provide depth in both the outfield and infield as well.
Burbank opened its season last weekend in the Hart Tournament and begins Pacific League play March 14 on the road at Hoover at 3:30 p.m.




Burbank High softball seemed to be peaking at exactly the right time. Three impressive playoff wins, fueled mostly by pitching and defense had the Bulldogs in the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs for the first time since 1975.

But the thing about post season play that makes it so intriguing is the reality that one misstep can send a team home.

On Thursday, May 24 the Bulldogs started slow against the Lancers and never recovered, falling 10-4, in a game at McCambridge Park. Burbank had four errors in-total and surrendered 11 hits — including six in a six-run third inning for Bishop Amat — in the loss.

The Bulldogs clawed their way back into the game and had a glimpse at it when they rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning following a three-run home run from Katie Hooper. However, the Lancers countered with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth and Burbank’s magical ride was halted in the quarterfinals.

Still, it was a season of growth for a team that will return nine of 12 players next season. The Bulldogs seemed poised to wrestle the Pacific League title from Burroughs and ready to make an even deeper post season run next year.

Speaking with Burbank Athletic Director Fred Cook and with head coach Nicole Drabecki briefly on May 23 they spoke openly about the school rallying behind the girls’ programs that made impressive playoff runs this season in basketball and softball.

“No one has done it in softball since Burroughs made a deep run in ’76 following our girls in ’75,” Cook said. “The school, the city are both so ready for this.”

“We just wanted to put Burbank softball on the map again and I honestly feel like we have,” Drabecki said.

Burbank was 23-7 this season overall and was led by the star-power of Laina Do, Hooper and pitcher Caitlyn Brooks. All three return next season.


Starting pitcher Caitlyn Brooks is too young to know much about the history of the Burbank softball program. Her coach, Nicole Drabecki, is well versed in the subject and has used the fact that her talented Bulldogs’ squad has a chance at school and program history as a motivator many times this season.

Brooks was listening.

The freshman standout delivered a complete game shutout, 1-0, and allowed just two hits to guide the Bulldogs past Downey in a CIF Southern Section Division II playoff game at McCambridge Park, Tuesday, May 22.

The win advances the Burbank program to the quarterfinals, the farthest it has gone in 36 years, and capped the best season in Drabecki era. She had made making a playoff run into “at least the quarterfinals”  a preseason goal and her Bulldogs made good on that challenge this post season after narrowly missing out on a share of the Pacific League title during the regular season.

Burbank finished in a second place tie after two tough one run losses to Burroughs in the bottom of the seventh and in extra innings during the regular season. Burbank then lost a tie breaker to Crescenta Valley and drew the third seed out of the league.  It hasn’t mattered as Burbank has put it all together this post season and notched its second consecutive 1-0 win in the post season behind Brooks.

Burbank beat La Reina 1-0 on May 17 after blasting Arroyo Grande, 6-1, in a Wildcard game on May 15. Brooks has now surrendered only one run in 21 post season innings while striking out 16 and walking just three. She seems to be getting better as the post season goes on too — after throwing 119 pitches in the Wildcard round, Brooks was credited with only 64 thrown pitches against Downey.

Burbank didn’t need much offense on Tuesday, which is a good thing, because it was a pitcher’s duel in every sense of the phrase and Allie Guillen matched Brooks pitch-for-pitch until the sixth inning when she ran into trouble.

The Bulldogs’ offensive catalyst, Laina Do, led off the inning with a single and then stole her team-high 20th stolen base of the season. Ashley Russo clutched-up with a RBI single to plate Do and when Brooks struck out the final batter of the game a frame later the celebration was on as Burbank players rushed the field and looked for a teammate or coach to hug.

Burbank left star Katie Hooper on third twice, including following a triple in the third. Hooper also walked twice.

Burbank will play Torrance next, on Thursday, May 24 on the last day of school for Burbank High. The way Burbank is playing, however, it doesn’t look to be the last day of the season for the Dogs. Burbank is now 23-6 on the season while Brooks is 16-4 in her inaugural high school season.