Tag Archives: Burroughs

Stolen Gardener’s Truck Recovered, Tools Missing

On Monday, April 2 at 5:35 p.m., Burbank Police responded to a call about a stolen Ford F350 which contained gardening tools on the 400 block of North Lamer St.

Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Around 6:00 p.m., the truck was discovered unoccupied in an alley at Verdugo Ave. and Keystone St. with some of the gardening equipment missing.

Two suspects are believed to be involved. One of the suspects who is described as an African American male drove a getaway truck that might have been a silver Dodge Ram.

The other suspect was a Caucasian male possibly in his 30s, wearing a black sweater, black gloves, black hat, and black jeans.

Burroughs Receiver Hernandez Was Smart And Effective

By Rick Assad


When the Burroughs High football team needed yards through the air, wide receiver Erick Hernandez was the man for the job.

During his three-year varsity career at Burroughs, Hernandez proved to be a dependable and clutch receiver, finishing with 83 catches for 1,284 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Hernandez, named Pacific League first-team, Offensive Player of the Year and All-Area first team as a senior, added a pair of non-receiving scores for a total of 24.

Hernandez isn’t especially tall at 5-foot-11 or big at 165 pounds, but was quick and often found holes in the defense that allowed him to snare 36 passes for 532 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2015.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs wide receiver Erick Hernandez putting on a move against Pasadena. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

It just so happened that the Indians advanced to the CIF Southern Section Southeast Division semifinals and Hernandez was a major factor in the team’s success.

The season opened with a road setback to powerful and talented Calabasas, and then saw Burroughs win nine straight regular-season games and two in the playoffs before losing to host St. Francis 21-7.

Hernandez, who will play football for Division I-AA St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, could catch the short and intermediate pass, but his specialty was the long toss.

“The deep passes have always been my favorite,” said Hernandez, who snared 32 passes for 564 years with 10 touchdowns, eight via receptions and was named the Burroughs Most Valuable Player as a junior. “I get to have a lot of freedom with what I do on the deeper routes as far as setting up the defender. So my speed, route running ability and hands showed on those deep routes.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hernandez was a dynamic two-way player and will continue his career at St. Francis University. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs went 11-2 and 7-0 in league play for the undisputed title.

“I thought we put Burroughs back in the spotlight,” Hernandez said. “We showed we can compete with extremely talented teams like Calabasas and we showed perseverance throughout the entire season because we were able to win a lot of games without certain key players who were injured.”

Hernandez, an Exercise Physiology major, continued: “Overall I was happy with the outcome of the season, but I do wonder what would have happened had we stayed healthy.”

Aside from his wide receiver duties, Hernandez also played in the secondary. “I have always felt comfortable playing receiver,” he noted. “I had a very aggressive mindset because I always felt like I was in control. On defense I felt that the best thing I could do was to go 100 percent all the time for the benefit of the team, even if I was somewhat uncomfortable on that side of the ball.”

Hernandez always tried to outthink the defender. “I think the best trait I brought to the FEAST was my football IQ,” he said. “That was also due to the years of experience I had on the varsity.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hernandez (#2) in action versus city and Pacific League rival Burbank. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Facing rival Burbank on the gridiron was an experience unto itself.

“The first two years I played Burbank on the varsity level the nerves got to me a little bit and I wasn’t comfortable,” Hernandez admitted. “This year was very different because of the teammates I was surrounded with. I felt complete confidence in myself as well as the team. I came out with a very different attitude for that game and just my senior year in general. I felt like I matured a lot over those first two years on varsity, which all came together my senior year.”

A pair of victorious league encounters remain imbedded for Hernandez. “The two games that stood out to me most my senior year from a personal stand point is definitely Arcadia and Burbank,” he noted.

The Indians actually trailed 14-0 early but came back for a 47-21 victory in the regular-season finale over the rival Bulldogs.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hernandez and teammate bask in the glory after a touchdown. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Why was Hernandez, whose favorite routes were the comeback and post, able to fully blossom in 2015?

“As far as being a receiver, my wide receiver coach Dwayne Frampton definitely took my game to the next level,” he said. “What set me apart my senior year was the extra work I did in the offseason and lifting with my trainer Thomas Abich. And obviously a lot of credit goes to my coaches at Burroughs who spent countless hours with the team and myself day in and day out.”

The Indians played before several large crowds at Memorial Field. Did Hernandez hear the cheering throng?

“As far as the crowd, I could only really hear certain people when I was on the sideline,” he offered. “The constant roar I heard on the field felt like silence my senior year, but after we scored or made a big play, of course I heard the roar of the crowd. I appreciate our fans more than anything. The support we received my senior year was tremendous. It made this past year very special.”

Burroughs Volleyball Standout Ryan Leads By Example

By Rick Assad


It’s rare to play four years in any varsity sport. It’s even more unusual to be a four-year starter.

Well this was the case for Burroughs High volleyball player Danielle Ryan, who was named Pacific League Player of the Year, CIF Southern Section first team and All-Area first team this past season.

Ryan was an outside hitter her senior, junior and freshman campaigns and a middle hitter as a sophomore.

Ryan’s final season was unforgettable as the Indians advanced to the Division II-A quarterfinals against Serrano, went 20-10 and 14-0 in league play.

“I would say that the team and myself accomplished all of our goals for the season,” said the soft-spoken Ryan, a two-year captain. “We wanted to take the season one match at a time and that would eventually lead to the Pacific League championship, which we took, undefeated.”

Ryan, who had 120 kills in a dozen league encounters, knows what to do on the floor.

“I loved being one of the leaders,” said Ryan, who will play volleyball at San Francisco State and major in communications. “I think there was some added pressure that came along with it, but I never really felt it.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs outside hitter Danielle Ryan (#8), shown in a match against Burbank, was a leader on and off the court. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Ryan went on: “I was a pitcher [at Burroughs] in softball and I think that truly taught me how to properly handle pressure and keep my composure in some stressful situations.”

Because Ryan was a four-year starter, the 6-foot leaper was always in the middle of the action.

“Being a part of such a close group of girls and making lasting friendships definitely stands out to me when I look back on playing high school volleyball,” she said. “Also, playing for my school in front of a crowd that always had such great school spirit was awesome.”

Part of Ryan’s responsibility was to keep the squad together. “My role on the floor, along with being a captain, was to lead by example and keep the team, and myself, focused on the match,” she noted.

No doubt there are highs and lows, but a few contests stood apart.

“The one match that I will always remember was my freshman year and we were playing Cypress High School in a CIF first-round playoff match,” said Ryan, named all-league second team as a junior and honorable mention as a sophomore.

“It was an away game and it was a pretty far drive,” she said. “I remember most of the team fell asleep on the bus and woke up just before we walked into the Cypress gym. We lost the first two games and came back and won the next three games to move into the second round of the CIF playoffs. It was such an intense and crazy match.”

Ryan, whose favorite athlete is three-time Olympic Gold medalist in beach volleyball and Stanford graduate, Kerri Walsh Jennings, said one more stood out.

“Another match I will always remember was the Arcadia match at Arcadia my senior year. It was a pretty emotional match that went to five games,” she pointed out. “They were such good competition and we were battling for a full clinch of the league title.”

But few surpassed the intensity of facing one’s arch enemy. “Playing our city rival Burbank High School was one of my favorite parts of every season,” Ryan recalled. “It was crazy how many people showed up to the games. The support we had was unreal. I loved playing in front of the huge crowds because they just added so much energy.”

And life lessons were learned along the way. “High school volleyball taught me how to work well with others and what it takes to be a leader,” Ryan said.

Was high school what Ryan thought it would be? “Looking back I wouldn’t do anything different in high school,” she said. “I had great experiences and was lucky to be a part of some amazing teams that really added to the great memories I will always have from high school.”

Ryan always went full bore. “My teammates would say that I was always positive on and off the court,” she said, “and that they could always come to me for anything.”

Okimoto Showed The Way For Burroughs Softball Team

By Rick Assad


Whether Kaitlin Okimoto was toiling at shortstop or in the batter’s box hitting line drives, the senior was invariably in the middle of helping her team win.

Okimoto’s over-the-top talent was never more obvious than during this past season when the Burroughs High softball team reached the CIF Southern Section Division III semifinals.

A four-year varsity starter and one of the team leaders, Okimoto was a key clog that helped the Indians make the postseason every year.

Okimoto finished her highly-decorated career batting .444 with 106 runs batted in, 10 homers, 31 doubles, 13 triples with 104 runs scored and a .487 on-base percentage.

This current run and quarterfinal match versus Norwalk was something truly special and unforgettable.

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Burroughs shortstop Kaitlin Okimoto was one of the leaders and helped the Indians make the CIF playoffs all four years she played. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“During the ninth inning, the second extra inning, I hit a home run over the fence to go up by one run,” Okimoto said. “After that, the team started to rally and we went up by four to win the game.”

Yet it was more than that. “The best part was that straight after the game the seniors headed to our graduation ceremony where we wore our jerseys under our robes,” Okimoto said.

Of course, the goal each year was to win the Pacific League title. “We have set many goals over the years, but we were most excited about winning league two years in a row,” said Okimoto, who batted .429 this season with eight home runs, 30 RBIs, 11 doubles, four triples with 30 runs scored and a .505 on-base percentage.  “Making the playoffs every year and getting to the semifinals. That made us the first Burroughs softball team to do so.”

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Okimoto (#32) was fearless. Here the senior who will attend Brown University where she will play softball, slides into second base in a CIF opening-round game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians lost to the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, Grand Terrace 7-0 in the semifinals, and finished the year with a 24-5 mark.

Burroughs also swept through the league with a 14-0 record and went 13-1 the previous season.

Despite playing in 106 high school games, there were a few that stood out for Okimoto, who will attend Brown University as a business major and will also play softball.

“My freshman year we played a pre-season game at La Canada and I got up and hit a home run over the fence,” Okimoto recalled. “That was my first high school home run.”

Okimoto went on: “The second game I remember the most was the second game, my junior year, against Burbank High School. I got a double play and I hit well. Our team fought back and finally pushed a run past them to end their winning streak. We tied them for the Pacific League championship, the first one I had in my high school career.”

Okimoto, who closed out her junior campaign with a .480 batting average, 21 RBIs and 21 runs tallied with eight doubles, said this season will be looked back upon fondly.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Okimoto played shortstop. Here she shows off her incredible arm strength. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We leave behind the memory of a team that came together and gave it their all for the game and each other,” she said.

Okimoto said while one of the leaders, she knew it was a team effort that set this squad apart.

“My biggest asset on the field was knowing my teammates always had my back,” she pointed out. “I knew that if I made an error or wasn’t playing well that they would pick me up. Every single girl on that team played for each other which made playing fun and when you’re having fun on the field, you are hard to beat.”

Okimoto, a gifted athlete who also plays travel ball for the ACES (Ashley Creamer Elite Softball), said she tried her hand at another sport and liked it.

“When I was a freshman I actually played varsity basketball,” she said, “but sophomore year I made the difficult decision to focus on softball, so I quit basketball. I have always known that softball was my passion and I knew that in order to excel I had to commit to it.”

Okimoto said playing at Burroughs was a dream come true, and it was because of her fellow players, who were always supportive.

“My teammates would say that I am determined, hardworking and a leader on and off the field,” she said.

Okimoto draws inspiration from her grandfather, Ralph Judkins. “I look up to my grandpa,” she said. “He has accomplished so many things in his life and has worked hard for everything he has. He can always make me laugh with his one-liners. He has also always supported me in what I choose to pursue.”

Burroughs Historic Softball Season Ends With 7-0 Loss In Semifinals

By Rick Assad


Burroughs High’s softball team didn’t play an All-Star team in Tuesday’s CIF Southern Section Division III semifinal game at Olive Park, but it may have felt that way.

Grand Terrace, top-seeded and ranked No. 2 in the nation by the website maxpreps.com, waltzed to a 7-0 victory, its 25th consecutive straight win, 17th shutout, and will face Redondo Union in the title game on Saturday.

It’s not that the No. 4 seeded Indians (24-5) didn’t give a mighty effort, it’s that the Titans, who have 12 players committed to Division I college programs, were simply too good. Burroughs had its 15-game winning streak snapped.

Three players will play for the University of Oklahoma and they include pitcher Melanie Olmos, third baseman Eliyah Flores and outfielder Alycia Flores.

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Burroughs catcher Brianna Devellano makes a play at the plate against Grand Terrace in Tuesday’s CIF semifinal game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This was a special and talented Burroughs softball team as it became the first squad to reach the semifinals.

“This was a competitive game early,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “But we needed to play near-perfect and we didn’t. They played hard and they never gave up. I’m really proud of this team.”

Olmos was stellar in the circle as she allowed two hits with one walk, had five strikeouts and one hit batter in five and one-third innings.

“It begins in the circle,” Grand Terrace assistant coach Wil Loredo said of the pitching staff that includes Yesenia Morrison, who went one and two-third frames, while striking out three.

Last season, Grand Terrace reached the championship game, and came within one inning of winning.

Javier Olmos is the other assistant coach and he emphasized team play. “All the girls play for top organizations. This isn’t new to them. This is a good group of girls.”

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Pitcher Presley Miraglia and third baseman Brianna Johnson talk it over. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Olmos had praise for the Indians: “That team over there is a fine team and well-coached,” he said. “We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. There are several really good players on that team. We did our research.”

The only Burroughs players reaching base via a hit or walk were Kaitlin Okimoto in the first, Amanda Flores in the second and Hannah Talavera in the third.

Olmos gave up a two-out walk to Okimoto, who will be attending Brown University, in the first inning, but then induced Presley Miraglia to pop up.

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Left fielder Isabel Frias gets the ball into the infield in a CIF semifinal game against the Titans. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Olmos retired the first two batters in the second, but Flores lashed a base hit up the middle. Olmos fanned Destiny Velazquez to retire the side.

With one out in the third inning, Talavera tripled to right field only to see Lauren Lopez and Okimoto each pop up.

Olmos worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning, but then hit Flores to lead off the fifth. Olmos then struck out Velazquez and Brianna Devellano and got Talavera to foul out.

“I thought we held them down pretty well,” said Devellano, the catcher who went hitless in two at-bats and will play at Pasadena City College or El Camino College. “It wasn’t a blowout.”

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

Burroughs shortstop Kaitlin Okimoto rifles the ball to first base in a 7-0 loss to Grand Terrace. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Olmos retired the side in order in the sixth, but Olmos’ defense committed its only error in the seventh with two out when Flores was safe. Velazquez then fanned to end the contest.

Miraglia wasn’t especially sharp as she surrendered 11 hits with one hit batter while fanning four in six and two-third frames.

Mia Storer went one-third of an inning and walked a batter.

“I’m always a little nervous in the first inning,” said Miraglia, whose defense committed three errors. “Knowing that if you lose, your season is over makes you even more nervous. What I try to do is forget about all that and just try and get the next out.”

Miraglia added: “This is the best any Burroughs team has done. I’m really proud of what we accomplished.”

The Titans (27-1) scored in four of seven innings including the first frame when they led 1-0 after Miraglia allowed three hits.

Eliyah Flores doubled to left field and went to third base on a sacrifice by Alyssa Graham. Flores was erased on a force out at the plate on a terrific throw by third baseman Brianna Johnson.

JBHS Softball vs Grand Terrace

The Burroughs softball team lines up before the start of Tuesday’s CIF semifinal game against Grand Terrace. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I came out and struggled in my first at-bat,” said Johnson, who fanned three times. “I was more confident in my other at-bats. They’re a solid team.”

Lilly Bishop reached on a fielder’s choice and pinch runner Alexis Lopez entered the game.

Olmos was safe on a hit to right center as Lopez raced to third base and scored on a single by Morgan Parsons.

Miraglia went 1-2-3 in the second inning, but allowed two runs in the third inning when Eliyah Flores had an infield single, went to third on Graham’s single to right, and scored on an error.

Graham moved to third base on the miscue and crossed the plate when Bishop was safe on a fielder’s choice.

Miraglia toured a perfect fourth and fifth frame, but then ran into trouble in the sixth as she gave up three hits including a two-run homer to Parsons as Olmos, who singled to left, scored in front of her.

Danielle Rico then followed with an infield single, but Miraglia escaped without any more runs scoring.

The Titans tacked on two runs in the seventh inning when Graham singled with one out and scored on Bishop’s double to right center.

Lopez came in as a pinch runner for Bishop, went to third on a single by Alexis Lemus and crossed the plate on an error.

Burroughs Softball Reaches Semifinals With 4-0 Win Over Norwalk

By Rick Assad


The Burroughs High softball team has a date with top-seeded and nationally ranked Grand Terrace in the CIF Southern Section Division III semifinals at Olive Park on Tuesday with a 3:15 p.m. first pitch.

That’s because on Thursday, the No. 4 seeded Indians (24-4) needed nine innings in order to subdue host Norwalk 4-0 in a quarterfinal match. Burroughs was blanked until that point when it scored four runs.

“We won the game because of our defense,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “Our defense held us in the game. It was highlight after highlight. I don’t want to sound over dramatic, but that was the greatest effort by a team that I’ve ever seen. It was unbelievable.”

The Indians’ next game is going to be against a team that hasn’t allowed a run during three playoff games and is ranked No. 2 in the nation by the website maxpreps.com.

The ninth inning began with Kaitlin Okimoto hitting a ball to deep center field for a home run that made it 1-0.

Presley Miraglia was safe on a swinging bunt and Nikki Ricciardella entered as a pinch runner. Brianna Johnson singled and both runners scored on Amanda Flores’ triple to center field. Flores crossed the plate on Destiny Velazquez’s base hit.

In the opening round, the Titans, who are 26-1 and have a 24-game winning streak which is currently the longest, defeated Peninsula 10-0, then knocked off San Clemente 7-0 in the second round and Don Lugo 8-0 in the quarters.

Norwalk outhit the Indians, 11-7, but was unable to score any runs off pitching ace Miraglia, who went nine frames, striking out eight with one walk.

Aside from the victory over Norwalk, Burroughs, which has won 15 straight games, the second longest, has beaten Irvine 4-2 in the second round and drilled Tesoro 8-0 in the first round.

Burroughs Softball Reaches Quarterfinals With 4-2 Win Over Irvine

By Rick Assad


Like an eagle soaring, the Burroughs High softball team is flying past opponents, including Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat of host Irvine (15-14) in a CIF Southern Section Division III second-round playoff game.

On Thursday, the Indians (23-4) will face host Norwalk, which beat Palos Verdes 2-1 in an opening-round contest and edged Alemany 2-1 in a second-round match.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Presley Miraglia was supported by 10 hits and allowed two runs and seven hits with eight strikeouts and one walk over seven innings. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We were pretty much in charge the whole game,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “They scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth and had four of their seven hits when Presley [Miraglia] left some balls up.”

Nicol went on: “There were runners on second and third with one out, but she got out of the inning by getting a pop up to Kaitlin [Okimoto] and getting a strikeout.”

For two innings, neither team scored, but that was broken when the Indians tallied three runs in the third.

Okimoto, who plays shortstop, hit a double and Miraglia sacrificed her to third base. Brianna Johnson, who contributed three hits, singled to make it 1-0.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

Shortstop Kaitlin Okimoto, shown in a recent game against Burbank, had three hits in a 4-2 win over Irvine in a CIF second-round game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs extended its advantage to 2-0 when Isabel Frias reached on a fielder’s choice as Johnson crossed the plate, and it became 3-0 after Amanda Flores was safe on a fielder’s choice that drove in a run.

The Indians, who also received two hits from Hannah Talavera, tacked on a solo run in the seventh inning when Okimoto, who had three hits, barely missed a home run and settled for a triple and later scored on a wild pitch.

“I was really happy that we came away with the win because it wasn’t one of our best hitting games,” said Nicol of his club that managed 10 hits. “We hit 13 ground-ball outs and we left 14 runners on base.”

Miraglia was on the money and put together another impressive outing as she went seven innings while allowing seven hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Burroughs Softball Blanks Tesoro, 8-0, In CIF Opening Round

By Rick Assad


Whenever Burroughs High’s Presley Miraglia steps into the circle, she’s calm, cool and confident.

In Thursday afternoon’s CIF Southern Section Division III opening-round softball playoff match against Tesoro at Olive Park, the right-handed pitcher was all three as she tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout as the Indians blanked the Titans, 8-0.

The Indians (22-4 and 14-0 in the Pacific League) now face Irvine, which knocked off St. Paul, 5-3, in a second-round game on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Burroughs pitcher Presley Miraglia allowed no runs with two hits versus Tesoro in a CIF Southern Section opening-round game. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The only well-hit ball that Miraglia allowed came in the seventh inning off the bat of Kiana Cisneros to left field.

Miraglia then struck out Lauren Steffo, but Danielle Fettis was safe on an error as Cisneros scooted to second base.

Brittney Hill then lined to left fielder Isabel Frias for the second out and Taylor Lavin fanned for the final out.

The other hit was delivered by Cisneros with one out in the fourth inning and was of the infield variety.

Miraglia then fanned Steffo and got Fettis to fly out to Jessie Amaya in right field, who was playing for Alise Archuleta, who has an injured ankle.

“She really gave up one clean, solid hit,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said of his star hurler who looks forward to playing travel ball this summer. “She missed a lot of bats today. She’s really grown as a pitcher. It’s nice to see that.”

In the first inning, Miraglia struck out Rylee Argue and Hallie Goldman, but Goldman was safe on a throwing error. Miraglia then induced Cisneros and Steffo to both fly to Frias.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Second baseman Lauren Lopez singled twice and scored twice during an 8-0 win over the Titans. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The second inning began with Fettis and Hill each whiffing and Lavin grounding out to second baseman Lauren Lopez.

Miraglia got Shelby Pruyne, Caitlyn Sung and Argue to ground out in the third inning.

Miraglia had a 1-2-3 fifth inning as Hill popped to Kaitlin Okimoto, the shortstop, Lavin fanned and Pruyne flied to Frias.

Miraglia worked a perfect sixth inning when Sung grounded out to Lopez. Pinch hitter Sam Hogancamp grounded to first baseman Amanda Flores and pinch hitter Maddie Heredia flied to Amaya.

“I was just focused on my pitching,” said Miraglia, who struck out eight with no walks.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Kaitlin Okimoto (#32) steals second base and later scored. Okimoto singled and added a three-run homer in the sixth. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

When asked what pitches were working, Miraglia was quick with an answer. “My curve, drop and rise,” she said.

Miraglia was assisted by a 13-hit uprising that featured a three-run homer to left center field by Okimoto in the sixth inning.

“I liked our at-bats,” Nicol said of his high-ranked team. “I like line drives and ground balls. I don’t like fly balls.”

Okimoto also singled to left field in the first inning, stole second base and scored on Brianna Johnson’s single to right field.

JBHS Softball 1st Playoff Game

Burroughs’ outfield play was flawless in a CIF Southern Section first-round victory. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“I felt pretty confident because we had a good practice yesterday,” Okimoto said. “This was a good win, but we always try to look forward.”

A second run was tacked on in the opening frame when Frias singled in pinch runner Nikki Ricciardella, who came in after Miraglia was hit with a pitch.

The Indians struck for four runs on four hits in the sixth inning that made it 8-0.

In the frame, Hannah Talavera (two singles) walked and Lopez had an infield single and both scored on Okimoto’s blast.

Johnson was safe on an infield hit and she crossed the plate on Flores’ hit to right field.

The Indians took a 3-0 lead in the second inning when Lopez singled to center field with one out, moved to second base on a fielder’s choice and came around on an error.

It became 4-0 with a solo run in the fifth inning when Johnson singled to center with one out, stole second base, advanced to third base on Frias’ grounder and came home on a single through the middle by Flores.

Brianna Devellano was safe on an infield hit in the fourth inning and advanced to second and third base, but was left stranded.

Makayla Norwood gave up seven hits with three strikeouts and two hit batters for the Titans (9-15) in three and one-third innings, while Megan Richardson went two and two-third innings and yielded six hits with two walks.

Burroughs Baseball Sweeps Burbank; Wins Historic Second Straight Pacific League Title

By Rick Assad


Voting for the Pacific League Most Valuable Player hasn’t taken place, but Burroughs High’s Justin Palafox is right at the top of the list.

On Friday night at rival Burbank in the regular-season finale, Palafox singled twice, drove in four runs and scored a run as the Indians defeated the Bulldogs, 7-6, in dramatic fashion with three runs in the seventh inning.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Burbank pitcher Garret Dolan tossed 115 pitches and left in the seventh inning. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The victory was historic because it gave the Indians back-to-back league championships, something no baseball team has ever done in school history.

Burbank, which placed fourth in league and will also make the CIF Southern Section playoffs, led twice, 2-0 and 6-2, but were not able to fight off the stubborn Indians, who finished 12-2 in league, tied with Crescenta Valley.

“I try to do what I always do,” said Palafox of the game-winning at-bat. “I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think I’m one of the two best players in the league. I have a lot of confidence.”

The key blow in the seventh was Palafox’s two-run single to right center that gave Burroughs (19-6) a one-run lead.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

“I think that Justin Palafox is the best player in the Pacific League,” Burroughs coach Craig Sherwood said. “He’s a five-tool player. He bats lead off so that he can get more at-bats.”

Three batters earlier, Jonathan Max came through with a run-scoring base hit to right center that trimmed the lead to 6-5 and plated Mitch Lefevre, who opened the inning with a single to center field.

The bottom of the seventh wasn’t as dramatic because reliever Shaine Leonard, who was credited with the win, retired Branden Philips on a fly ball to center fielder Jason Whaley and induced designated hitter Everett Fair to pop up to Palafox, the shortstop.

Leonard then intentionally walked Danny Porras, who hit a two-run homer to right center in the first inning that scored Fair, who doubled to left field, but then struck out pinch hitter Forest Fajardo to end the game.

Burroughs’ players celebrate after 7-6 win over city rival Burbank. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

“I think that game was really well played,” Sherwood said. “Burbank outplayed us for the first six innings. But we didn’t panic.”

Sherwood thinks this team has been overlooked and can make a strong run in the playoffs.

“This is great, but we need to keep our eyes on the prize,” he said. “We need to take it one game at a time.”

Burroughs cut Burbank’s lead in half in the second inning when it scored a run off Garret Dolan, who gave up a run-scoring triple to Riley Hooper that brought in Tanner Whitlock, who was hit with a pitch and one out.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Danny Porras is congratulated after hitting a two-run homer in the first inning. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

The Indians knotted it at 2-2 with a run in the third inning when Palafox was safe on the first of three Burbank errors.

Palafox stole second base and scored when Nathan Palafox reached base on the second miscue of the frame.

The Bulldogs (9-12 and 8-6 in league) took a 6-2 lead with a four-run fifth as eight batters made their way to the plate.

Five consecutive hitters singled including Kyle Tanner, Andy Reyes, Philips, Fair and Porras.

Philips, Fair (three hits) and Porras all delivered run-scoring hits while Jeremy Chong’s ground out produced the final run.

“We played better, but they had the timely hits,” Burbank coach Bob Hart said. “We made some mistakes. Our kid [Dolan] was getting tired and I had to take him out. But they got to our bullpen and you have to give Burroughs credit.”

The Indians responded with a two-run sixth that lowered the lead to 6-4 as Palafox’s one-out single to right center scored Whitlock, who began the inning by getting nicked with a pitch and Max, who singled to left field.

Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Omar Tejada sprints down to second base while second baseman Kyle Tanner is about to make the tag. Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

Kyle Nicol was the starting pitcher for Burroughs and went four innings, striking out four and allowing seven hits with two hit batters.

Leonard toured three innings, giving up one hit with five strikeouts and one intentional walk.

Garret Dolan yielded four hits and two walks with five hit batters along with seven strikeouts in six and one-third innings.

Dolan threw 115 pitches before he was taken out in favor of Henry Leake, who took the loss after working two-thirds of an inning and giving up three hits with one strikeout.

Burroughs Softball Takes A Pair From Burbank

By Rick Assad


For a brief moment, the Burbank High softball team held a lead, but the hammer in the form of crosstown rival Burroughs exploded for seven runs en route to a 13-6 thumping on Wednesday in the Pacific League finale at McCambridge Park.

With the win, the Indians (21-4 and 14-0 in league) managed a perfect league campaign and now await which team they will face in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

“It’s great that we won the league title, but right now everybody is zero and zero,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said referring to the upcoming postseason.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

Burroughs went undefeated in Pacific League play. CIF playoffs are next. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Nicol knew that Burbank wouldn’t quit after falling behind early. “When they took the lead we needed to come back and score runs,” he said.

Presley Miraglia earned the victory after working seven innings and yielding five hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks.

Allie Benson absorbed the loss after toiling six and two-third frames, allowing 11 hits with five walks, four hit batters and four strikeouts.

Reace Rushing gave up two hits with a walk and a hit batter in two-thirds of an inning.

Burroughs jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the third inning when Lauren Lopez singled to left field, moved to second base on an error, third base on Kaitlin Okimoto’s infield single and scored on an error.

Okimpto took second base on an error, advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on Isabel Frias’ force out.

JBHS vs BHS Softball May 9 2016-Card 1

Burbank lost both games to rival Burroughs, but will still make the postseason. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Bulldogs (11-16 and 8-6 in league) rallied in the bottom of the third with three runs on two hits and an error.

Anysia Gonzalez walked and later scored to cut the lead to 2-1 and Desiree Gomez singled with two out.

Julia Duarte, who singled in the first inning, walked and both scored on Emily Monterrey’s booming double to left center that made it 3-2.

“We battled but the difference was our defense,” Burbank coach Mike Delaney said of his club that committed four errors to three for the Indians. “We struggled in some at-bats. But you have to love their fight. We’re young.”

Delaney added: “It’s a learning thing. It’s too bad these seniors won’t have another year to play with this group because it would be something special.”

The Indians broke the contest open in the fifth inning by sending 10 batters to the plate with seven scoring.

Hannah Talavera’s triple to left center scored two runs and Miraglia, Lopez and Okimoto each had run-producing triples.

Brianna Johnson had a run-scoring double and Destiny Velasquez’s sacrifice fly drove in another. Okimoto led off with a triple to left field and came around to score.

“All of the cards were falling into place,” Okimoto said. “Everyone on our team can hit. This is a great way to end the season.”

The Indians scored a run in the sixth when Miraglia walked to open the frame. Pinch runner Nikki Ricciardella stole second base, went to third base on Frias’ grounder and came home on an infield hit by Amanda Flores.

Burroughs made it 13-3 after adding three runs in the seventh when nine batters went to the plate.

Key hits included Mia Storer’s run-scoring single that scored Brianna Devellano, who led off with a base hit to center field.

Ricciardella, who tallied a pair of runs, had a run-producing base hit to left center.

Jessie Amaya also singled in the seventh inning, but was retired on a force out.

Burbank, which finished fourth in the league and will make the playoffs, cut the lead to seven runs with a three-run seventh on Cailey Stevenson’s two-run triple to right center and Gomez’s run-producing single up the middle.