Burroughs’ Acosta Shuts Down Burbank, 6-1

Photo by Sebastian Moore / Burbank Leader | Burroughs sophomore Phoebe Spangler scored the Bears’ first run en route to a 6-1 victory over Burbank High on Wednesday.

First published in the April 9 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

This season marks a new chapter in the softball rivalry between Burroughs and Burbank High. Due to a tweaking of the league scheduling, the crosstown foes will play a three-game series this campaign, as opposed to the longtime standard of two.

Behind a strong performance in the circle by Kelsey Acosta, the host Bears scored the victory over the Bulldogs 6-1 to take round one in Pacific League play at Olive Park Wednesday evening.

“It feels so good,” Acosta said of the win. “I feel like [Burbank] has been very cocky these last few weeks thinking they were going to beat us, so beating them was so nice, so satisfying.”

Acosta went the distance in the circle for the win, striking out six along the way. The senior allowed just three hits, and two were in the first inning.

“My screwball was working really well,” Acosta said.

The final Burbank hit was a single by Bulldog Samantha Buckley in the fourth inning, but was wiped off the base paths when Acosta snagged a liner by the next batter for an out and threw to first for a double play. She faced the minimum number of batters in four of seven innings.

“I’m blessed to have Kelsey,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “I’m blessed.”

With the win, Burroughs (15-6, 4-2) moves ahead of Burbank (11-11, 4-3) for third place on the Pacific League leaderboard. Also, the Bears have now won the last five games versus the Bulldogs.

Burroughs was opportunistic on offense, scoring a trio of runs in both the third and sixth innings, which were facilitated in no small part by four Burbank errors split evenly between the two frames.

“The chemistry was there. The harmony of the team was there. We just came up short on defense,” Burbank coach Melissa Sanchez said. “A couple of mental mistakes, a couple extra bases, is what killed us.”

It all amounted to a tough luck loss for Burbank pitcher Maddison Kellogg. The freshman yielded a scant four hits while striking out two.

“[Kellogg] did absolutely everything I asked her to do in terms of a pitching plan against a tough hitting team like Burroughs,” Sanchez said. “She hit her locations. She kept her composure as a freshman, which is very hard to do in your first Burbank-Burroughs game on varsity. So, I’m absolutely proud of her.”

The hosts trailed 1-0 going into the bottom of the third inning. The first two Bear batters reached base due to infield throwing errors by the Bulldogs to put runners on the corners. Mia Ramirez came up next and laid down a squeeze bunt that turned into a single when courtesy runner Phoebe beat the throw home to score. Two batters later, the bases were juiced with one out and Gigi Garcia up. The senior hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Kaynan Chrysikos from third for the second run. Isabella Scozzola plated the final run of the inning with a double to score Ramirez before the next Bear was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

The Bears put up three more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. The first was scored by Garcia, who had reached on an error, on another squeeze-bunt-turned-single, this time by Gizelle Rangsiyawong.

“[Nicol] told me to get the bunt down at first and score the run,” Rangsiyawong said. “I just did what he told me and got it down.”

Kiley Christopher followed with a sacrifice fly that drove home Scozzola, who had reached on a walk. The final run of the contest was scored by Rangsiyawong on a Burbank fielding error.

Burbank loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning with one out, on two hit batters by Acosta sandwiched around a walk. The senior escaped the jam by inducing the next two batters to line out and pop out, respectively.

“Every time you play Burbank-Burroughs, it is going to be a battle,” Nicol said. “We knew coming in it was going to be hard to the last out. You saw the fight they had. I’m proud of my girls.”

Bulldog Belinda Lujano led off the contest with a single. Elizabeth Zamora advanced her to second with a sacrifice bunt. Buckley followed with an RBI when her single dropped into shallow left field.

The schools have two more matchups this season: April 19, with the Bears hosting once again, and April 28, when the Bulldogs will be the home team.

“We’re going to make the adjustments and we’ll be back,” Sanchez said.