By Austin Green
Seven different John Burroughs players had RBIs, the Bears’ No. 1-6 batters all had multi-hit games, and not a single Burroughs hitter struck out during their 14-2 six-inning victory over archrival Burbank at McCambridge Park on Thursday.
Burroughs starter Kelsey Acosta threw a complete game, only allowing three hits among the final 24 batters she faced after Burbank opened the bottom of the first inning with a Belinda Lujano single and Samantha Buckley inside-the-park home run.
Burroughs got the scoring started early on its side, as well. Olivia Kam was hit on the second pitch of the game and scored on Rachel Little’s double, giving the Bears a 1-0 lead.
After Buckley’s homer in the bottom half of the first inning put Burbank ahead 2-1, Alyssa Valenzuela led off the top of the second with a home run of her own over the left-field fence.
Bulldogs starter Grace Workman seemed to settle down after that, retiring the next three batters in order.
In the top of the third, however, Burbank’s defense gave Burroughs all the help it needed to blow the game open. Kam reached on an error, then Little singled, and then Isabella Scozzola laced a hard-hit grounder to third base, which Burbank’s Lily Stell stopped with a dive, but her throw was off line and both Kam and Pena scored.
Gigi Garcia singled to bring home Scozzola, Stevie Dabbadie walked, and Burroughs caught another break — with still nobody out — when a Burbank error allowed Garcia to score. Dyani Del Castillo executed a perfect squeeze bunt to score Dabbadie, and Avery Mochrie reached on a fielder’s choice two batters later to load the bases, but Workman finally got out of the inning thanks to a couple of cleanly fielded grounders.
“We did a squeeze, we did a couple bunts, since we’re such a good contact hitting team we knew going in that we’d want to put some bunts down and see how they would field them,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “They kind of switched stuff up and they were playing on their heels so it created some opportunities for us.”
The top of the fourth was more of the same. Workman hit the leadoff batter and allowed three straight singles, but another error extended the inning and allowed a third runner, Valenzuela, to score in the frame. Burroughs added another run in the fifth thanks to a Kam single, stolen base, and Little sacrifice fly, and three more in the sixth on hits from Dabaddie, Del Castillo and Phoebe Spangler to put the 10- run post-five-innings mercy rule into effect.
“This is probably one of the lowest strikeout [prone] teams I’ve ever had,” Nicol said. “They always make contact. So we knew coming into the game that if we just put the bat on the ball and were aggressive on the basepaths that we’d be successful and we were today.”
Workman exited in the sixth inning for reliever Leela VanDerHey, who allowed her inherited runners to score but limiting the damage beyond that.
“I think [Workman] actually was working well in the first couple innings,” Burbank head coach Melissa Sanchez said. “We were a little slow on making plays. Mistakes, errors, a couple unearned runs. She started off strong, she’s a freshman, she works really hard. She’s gonna be great and she just has to keep working.”
Acosta finished with a six-inning complete game, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out five.
“She is such a tough kid,” Nichols said of his starter. “And she just told me when she came back in [after allowing the home run in the first inning], she goes, ‘I just left one over the middle of the plate. It won’t happen again.’ And it didn’t… People look at her and they say, ‘Oh, she’s not the biggest kid in the world,’ but she is tougher than nails.”
Burroughs improved to 8-7 overall and 6-2 in Pacific League play, pulling ahead of Burbank (7-7, 5-3) for sole possession of third place behind Crescenta Valley and Arcadia in the league standings.