It was Michelle Santiago and Haley Schulman who delivered for Burroughs in the regular season’s final game to clinch a third consecutive Pacific League championship.
Locked in a battle with Knight to open the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs on Thursday, May 17, the two delivered once again. Starting pitcher Schulman escaped several jams and went the distance while Santiago delivered the final blow to the Hawks chances by blasting a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to help lead the Indians (24-3) to a 3-0 victory.
Santiago’s heroics followed Megan McKenna’s sacrifice fly to score Davina Del Castillo to break a scoreless tie. Brice Edrington, who had singled, came home on Santiago’s home run.
Del Castillo had reached on an error and was sacrificed to second by Cheyenne Steward. She moved to third on the Edrington’s single and scored on the McKenna sac. It was the type of manufactured run that the Indians have delivered in close contests all year.
Schulman struck out seven, including striking out the side in the third to escape a two-on jam. She also zoned-in after allowing lead-off batters to reach base in four out of seven innings but never surrendered a run.
“I am just proud of the girls, all of them, because we have been finding a way to win close ones all year,” head coach Doug Nicol said. “That takes a real team to do that.”
Nicol’s squad won a sixth straight contest that included five straight league games in a season in which they went 13-1.
Burroughs will play South High of Torrance on Tuesday. The Indians swept South in a double header during the regular season — 7-6 and 2-1 — back on March 15. The Spartans were 19-10 in the regular season and come from the highly regarded Pioneer League.