Tag Archives: Savannah Benson

Burbank Senior Softball Ready for Little League World Series

 

Burbank may be known for many things including being the Media City.

The Burbank Senior Softball Little League All-Star team wants to give the city something else to put claim to in its storied history.

Monday evening the team begins to play in the Little League World Series in Lower Sussex, Del., opening against the U.S. Central Region championship team, which is from the Grand Rapids, Mich. Area. The game is slated to start at 5 p.m. PST.

“This team has become a family basically. There’s just something about this team that I feel,” Burbank’s Kaelyn Freed said. “We’ve never made it this far. Our goal was to make it to Montana this year and we’re going to Delaware and our dreams are becoming a reality. This team really came together in Montana. We’ve never made it past the Western Regionals and it feels so good to get past that brick wall.”

With a core of players that have been together for a number of years, coach Rocco Buffolino likes his team’s chances.

“If we pitch and play defense and we swing the bat like tonight, I’m not worried,” Buffolino said after his team’s final practice before departing for Delaware. “We’ve been waiting too long for this. It has been four years. We’re sick of being bridesmaids.  If these kids play their game, we’re fine.”

While every team will certainly come into the tournament motivated, pitcher Annie Buffolino has an added incentive.

“This is going to be my final year playing softball. For me this is such a great experience to be in,” said Annie Buffolino, who plans to concentrate on her golf game.

Burbank City Councilmen Bob Frutos and Jess Talamantes came out to wish the team well at Glendale’s Pelanconi Park, site of its final practice before leaving for the World Series.

“This is awesome for this team. They both represent our two high schools. This is Burbank, we’re the media capital of the world,” Frutos said. “For me, it is quite an honor and great bragging rights to other council members from other cities.”

The team features four Burbank Bulldogs and four Burroughs Indians.

Representing Burbank High are pitcher Savannah Benson, third baseman Lily Stell and outfielders Jordyn Rivero and Victoria Sanchez.

From Burroughs, the team boasts catcher Clarisa Robles, first baseman Melissa Orozco, second baseman Gigi Garcia and outfielder Briyana Ampie.

Freed attends Bishop Alemany High in Mission Hills. Annie Buffolino attends Sherman Oaks Notre Dame but does not play on her school’s softball team. Calista Lee will be a freshman at North Hollywood Oakwood School and outfielder Joselyn Reccelle attends Verdugo Hills High.

“I’m not going to lie. I believe our team can take the whole thing if we play the way we just played in Montana, our team chemistry is really (strong),” Freed said. “We just have to go out and play our game and we have a good shot.”

Coach Buffolino said he likes having the attention of being the team that represents arguably the most talented softball region in the nation.

“I do think we have a bull’s eye on our back. I want people to come at us,” he said. “That will hopefully keep us playing our game.

In pool play, Burbank will play Canadian champion Victoria, British Columbia on Tuesday at noon.

Wednesday Burbank will face Europe/Africa champion Rotterdam, The Hague, the Netherlands at 7 a.m.
Thursday, Burbank will play Southeast Champion Florence, S.C. at noon.

All games will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Burbank Softball Loses Tough One To Visiting Arcadia 7-5

By Rick Assad

 

Playing shorthanded is a tough way to operate, but the Burbank High softball team had to against Arcadia on Monday afternoon.

Even so, the Bulldogs found enough intestinal fortitude to rally from four runs down in the sixth inning, but then gave up two runs in the seventh inning and lost 7-5 in a Pacific League contest at McCambridge Park.

Alyssa Porras went seven innings and took the 7-5 loss. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank managed four hits off sophomore Sophia Garzona, who went seven innings, striking out six and walking three.

Senior Alyssa Porras toured seven frames for the Bulldogs, surrendering 11 hits with three strikeouts and two walks with two hit batters.

The Bulldogs (2-4 and 1-1 in league) were without the services of seniors Nikki Davis and Emily Monterrey along with junior Savannah Benson.

It seemed late in the game that Porras may have been tired, but wasn’t taken out by Burbank coach Mike Delaney.

“We thought about it a couple of times. But where they were in the lineup versus what she was doing with those kids, it didn’t ever come up to it at that point,” Delaney said. “She battled. She missed a few spots, but we didn’t help her with our flat-footedness today. We were flat-footed with our defense.”

The Bulldogs cut Arcadia’s lead to 5-4 with a three-run fifth inning as seven batters trotted to the plate.

Base hits were hard to come by for the Bulldogs, who managed four. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

With none out, senior Izzy Sanchez lined a sharp base hit to center field as senior Sarah Garelick, who walked and sophomore Erika Montoya, who collected a single to left field, both scored.

Senior Alex Davis was safe on a fielder’s choice that scored a run as pinch runner, junior Tiffany Estrada, who came in for Porras, drew a walk.

“Our outfield didn’t help us and our hitting didn’t help us,” Delaney pointed out. “We did not hit in key situations. That’s what we’ve been kind of stressing the last couple of games. We’re all trying to hit the ball over the fence. You hit the ball in the air here, it’s just an out.”

The Apaches (9-1-1 and 2-0 in league) bolted ahead 7-5 in the seventh when senior Deja Westbrook drilled a single to left with one out. Westbrook moved to second base on a grounder by senior Helena Simpson.

Burbank’s infield defense was solid against the Apaches. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A clanging double to left center by freshman Morgan Howey (two hits) scored Westbrook and Howey crossed the plate when senior Karly Gills roped a base hit to center field.

Burbank evened it at 5-5 with a run in the sixth inning as sophomore Lily Stell clubbed a long one-out triple to right center, and Garelick’s grounder drove in the run.

The Apaches opened up a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Simpson’s single up the middle scored sophomore Averi Wong, who singled to left field with one out.

The Bulldogs tied it at 1-1 in the first inning when Davis led off with a booming triple to right center and crossed the plate on a sacrifice bunt from senior Amaya Broyls.

“I think our hitting is what drives us,” Broyls said. “When we’re hitting line drives in the gap, and when we’re getting good hits off her, it gives us a lot momentum and that’s what helps us.”

Broyls then added: It’s been hard with all the rain and we’ve been trying to practice and some girls have been hurt,” she said. “Being a catcher. Being a senior. Being a captain. There’s a lot of pressure and I feel like I need to lead the team along with the other captains. We have the younger players. We all need to step up and do our job.”

A two-run third inning by Arcadia made it 3-1 as Westbrook lined an inside-the-park homer to center field that plated Wong, who was safe on a force out.

The Apaches’ advantage became 5-1 in the fifth inning when Wong’s triple to right center knocked home sophomore Delaney Prater (two hits), who doubled to left center and Westbrook’s grounder scored Wong.

Burroughs, Burbank Softball Primed For Something Special

By Rick Assad

 

Because of the talent available, it would seem that if the Burbank High and Burroughs softball teams don’t qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs, its respective seasons will not be considered very successful.

Burbank is coming off a campaign in which it went 16-12 overall and 10-4 for third place in the Pacific League.

It’s all for one and one for all as the Bulldogs ready for the Pacific League season. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Bulldogs played in a Division IV wild-card match against Norwalk and fell 4-2.

Burroughs went 14-5-1 and 12-2 for second in league and after defeating Bonita 2-0 in a Division III opening-round game, lost to Redlands 4-0 in the second round.

“I believe that we’ll do fairly well this year,” Burroughs coach Wes Tanigawa said. “I brought up a few new girls from the JV. Overall we should be pretty successful, but softball is the way it is and you never know how the ball is going to go.”

The Indians are gunning for another CIF Southern Section playoff appearance. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Tanigawa is optimistic about this squad.

“These girls that we have are a really good core group. They work together. They pick each other up,” he noted.

Tanigawa also likes that the team doesn’t rely on one aspect of the game.

“I don’t really necessarily see one thing as our strength,” he pointed out. “We’ve lost our star pitcher [Presley Miraglia]. We have pitching. I’ve got a freshman who is looking really good. I brought up a few girls with hopefully a couple of bats.”

To date, Burroughs lost to Newbury Park 8-0 in the Suzanne Manlet Tournament and collected a 3-2 victory over San Fernando in the same tourney.

The Indians begin league play on March 5 when Pasadena makes a visit and will host Burbank on March 29 and travel to the Bulldogs on April 25.

Beside Miraglia, other key performers that graduated includes outfielder Hannah Talavera and second baseman Nikki Ricciardella.

The most valued commodity is always pitching and the Bulldogs, who lost Allie Benson to graduation, have a good one in senior Alyssa Porras.

Infield play is always vital, so the Bulldogs practice being perfect. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mike Delaney, the Burbank coach, thinks this should be a productive season.

“If we play to our ability, and we have some kids that step up, we can compete with anybody,” h said. “Our kids don’t shy away from competing with anybody. We play a tough tournament schedule because it helps us in league. CV is probably the team to beat this year.”

Like Tanigawa, Delaney is also optimistic.

“If we play the way we can, we’re a top three team for sure,” he said. “If we play even better than that, we can be a top two. I’m not discounting this team from anything.”

Burbank has lost to Louisville 6-4 in the Hart Tournament and fell to Calabasas 6-4 in the same tourney. The Bulldogs commence league action on March 5 when they host Glendale.

Backing up Porras, who worked many innings in 2018, and will be asked to toe the rubber for 200 innings this season, will be junior Savannah Benson, Allie’s younger sister.

Chloe Bookmyer will be asked to be a team leader for the Indians. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

A key member will be senior Alex Davis, who will be the primary shortstop.

Senior Amaya Broyls, a member of the volleyball team, will see the majority of the time behind the plate for Burbank, which lost to graduation first baseman Erin Lashkari, infielder/outfielder Anysia Gonzalez and outfielder/second baseman Macie Jensen.

Senior Nikki Davis and senior Carly Oldfield will battle for first base.

Senior Desiree Gomez is the primary third baseman and will relieve Broyls on occasion as the catcher.

Sophomore Erika Montoya, who played on the basketball team, will play second base.

Burbank is aiming for the top spot in the Pacific League after finishing third last season. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank’s outfield will include senior Sarah Garelick in left field, senior Izzy Sanchez in right field and sophomore Victoria Sanchez in center field.

The rest of the team includes senior Emily Monterrey, who also played on the basketball team, will play at first and third base and act as the designated player.

Senior Siena Fagiani will be used in a utility role and designated player, while freshman Bella Scozzola will play first base, third base and the outfield.

Junior Tiffany Estrada will see time in the outfield and be used as a utility player. Junior Jordyn Rivero will play in the outfield, utility and designated player, and freshman Elizabeth Zamora will play in the outfield, designated player and utility.

The Indians go over infield practice knowing its value. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians have four starting pitchers and they will need to at least come close to what Miraglia, a member of the Long Beach State women’s softball team, accomplished in her stellar career.

The two with the most experience in the circle are junior Sidnie Dabaddie and junior Isabella Kam.

The other two hurlers are sophomore Dyani Del Castillo, who played on the basketball team and freshman Kelsey Acosta.

The catching chore will fall upon the dependable shoulders of senior Megan Williams.

The projected infield for Burroughs will have senior Sierra Harvey at first base, senior Morgan Mersola at second base, sophomore Alyssa Valenzuela at shortstop and junior Memorie Munoz at third base.

The Indians’ outfield will consist of senior Hannah Skinner in left field, senior Mia Storer in center field and junior Chloe Bookmyer, the league’s Most Valuable Player Hitter, in right field.

The rest of the lineup will have senior Jillian Kukawski, also a member of the basketball team at third base, senior Lauryn Valenzuela at shortstop, senior Citlali Mendez at shortstop, junior Sami Fiorella in the infield and catcher and sophomore Kaitlyn Cisneros in the infield and utility.

Burroughs, Burbank Softball Campaign Is Underway

By Rick Assad

 

Like its counterpart baseball, pitching is worth at least 75 percent in softball and if it’s true, then Burroughs High and Burbank are on solid footing in Presley Miraglia and Allie Benson.

How these two junior hurlers perform in the circle will dictate the Indians and Bulldogs overall success.

The Burroughs High softball team is ready for another run at the Pacific League banner. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This is especially true when it comes down to who will be dominant in the Pacific League.

There is one change and that is the departure of Burroughs coach Doug Nicol, who was highly successful.

The new man in charge of the Indians’ program is Wes Tanigawa, and his expectations are the same as Nicol’s.

“No one ever knows what you’re stepping into,” Tanigawa said of being the head man. “There’s a lot of work. But Doug has been there for me and that’s really helped me make the transition.”

Burbank High’s softball team huddles with Coach Mike Delaney in a recent practice. The Bulldogs are also eyeing the Pacific League title. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Tanigawa said he wants to put a good product on the field.

“I’m hoping the girls are doing what they need to do in order to keep doing what they did last season. If they do, then we’ll be all right.”

So far this season, the Indians are 4-1 and begin the league campaign on March 28 at Pasadena.

Burroughs will host archrival Burbank on April 19 and visit the Bulldogs on May 11.

In 2016, the Indians went undefeated in league action at 14-0, were 21-4 overall and advanced to the CIF Southern Section semifinals.

Miraglia, who posted an earned-run average of 1.41, was in the middle of this and the right-hander will be the focal point again.

“Presley was always willing to step up to the plate and give it her all,” Tanigawa said. “She’s been in the program now for three years and she works extra hard.”

The Indians are working on their infield drills which are always critical to any success. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Tanigawa continued: “Presley is a very talented pitcher and knows that she has a lot on her shoulders.”

Miraglia is backed up by junior Mia Storer, who saw some time in the circle last season.

The Indians’ infield includes junior Amanda Flores at first base, junior Nikki Ricciardella at second base, senior Lauren Lopez at shortstop, senior Brianna Johnson at third base and the tandem of sophomore Megan Williams and junior Kaylee Vigil at catcher.

Sophomore Jessica Amaya will patrol left field, junior Hannah Talavera is the center fielder and senior Tati Caceres will play right field.

The Bulldogs are likewise also working on infield play. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The reserves will be freshman third baseman Memorie Munoz, sophomore Kaitlin Escamilla in left field, sophomore Morgan Mersola at second base, sophomore Citlali Mendez at shortstop, senior Makena Savola at first base, and freshman Chloe Bookmyer in right field.

Meanwhile, for Burbank, this season is an opportunity to redeem itself from the previous campaign in which it went 11-17 and 8-6 in league with an opening-round loss to Paramount in the playoffs.

Outfield defense is often overlooked, but Burroughs makes sure everything is in order. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Longtime Coach Mike Delaney is optimistic despite starting the campaign winless in four games.

The Bulldogs commence league action on March 28 against visiting Glendale.

“Overall, we’re better than we were last year,” he said. “The hitting is stronger, one through nine. They have a plan at the plate. This is a more mature and experienced team.”

The league race is going to be a battle. “It’s competitive as always,” Delaney said. “Burroughs is always tough to beat and Crescenta Valley seems to play well under [Coach] Amanda Peek.”

Delaney said the team gets along, and that’s going to help. “I don’t mind being the underdog,” he said. “You play freer. They’re really close-knit with good chemistry.”

Much is expected of the right-handed Benson, who went 7-7 in 2016. Benson is going to be backed up by sophomore Alex Davis and freshman Savannah Davis.

“Allie is a lot more confident this season,” said Delaney of his ace. “She has a game-plan and she worked hard in the off-season. She’s made really good progress.”

The old saying that practice makes perfect isn’t lost on the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sophomore Amaya Broyls is the primary catcher while senior Alyssa De La Torre and sophomore Nikki Davis will also see time behind the plate.

“Amaya can play all eight positions except pitcher,” Delaney noted of his young backstop.

Burbank’s infield consists of juniors Erin Lashkari and Melissa Daniel at first base, junior Macie Jensen at second base, freshman Katie Treadway at shortstop and junior Bene Snyder at third base.

“Melissa has good power and is good defensively,” Delaney said. “Macie, who batted .310, will fill in the power spots in the batting order [3-5], and I’m happy with her defense.”

Delaney added: “Katie is only a freshman and she learned a lot over the fall. She has great speed and range,” he said. “Bene understands her swing.”

The Bulldogs’ outfield will have Alex Davis in center field, junior Anysia Gonzalez in right field and sophomore Sarah Garelick in left field.

Delaney had glowing remarks about his outfield. “I’m happy with her game,” he said of Davis. “”She’s a good base runner and she’s going to have a breakout year.”

Delaney added: “There aren’t enough positive things you can say about Anysia,” he said. “She’s a really good defender and Sarah is very intelligent.”