The regular season finale in softball pitted Burroughs High against Burbank High.
For the Bears, the Pacific League championship was there for the taking if they could beat their rivals. However, the Bulldogs were on their home field and ready to play the spoiler.
When the regular season ended, it was Burroughs that finished with a win, shutting out Burbank 3-0 to claim a share of the Pacific League title Thursday evening at McCambridge Park.
“Pacific League champions; that’s not a very easy thing to do,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said. “This group is special.”
The Bears will share the title with Arcadia, as both squads finished 9-1 in league play. However, it will be the Bears who will enter the CIF-SS playoffs as the league’s No. 1 seed by way of run differential in the head-to-head matchups the teams split this season.
Burroughs senior pitcher Stevie Dabbadie went the distance in the circle, striking out seven while scattering seven hits to earn the win.
“We’ve been working really hard this year and it’s just like all that hard work paid off,” Dabbadie said of clinching a share of the league title. “I’m just really happy.”
It was the second time that Dabbadie and the Bears had blanked Burbank. On April 14, Burroughs hosted the Bulldogs and came away with a 1-0 win in eight innings.
“To do what [Dabbadie] did this year against Burbank, shut them out twice and lead us to a league title, she’s just a special kid,” Nicol said.
The visitors staked themselves to an early advantage with a run in the top of the first inning. With one out, Burbank starter Maddison Kellogg walked Gizelle Rangsiyawong on seven pitches. Dabbadie came up next and smashed the second pitch she saw into the left-center field gap. Rangsiyawong came around to score and Dabbadie ended up at third. Kellogg got the next two Bears out, but Burroughs had what turned out to be all the runs it would need.
“I feel like the energy went straight up from there,” Rangsiyawong said of scoring first. “We already came out very excited and very happy, and that just drove us to continue to score more runs.”
Burbank was poised to score in the bottom of the fourth when, with one out, three consecutive Bulldogs hit singles to load the bases. Kara Valencia was first with a single to right field. Samantha Cafferty followed with a single to left field. Finally, Shelby Cribbs laid down a bunt that died just in front of the plate for an infield hit. This brought up Delilah Alvarado, who, with a 3-1 count, hit a hard liner into right field. Burroughs’ Alyssa Morales closed on the ball and caught it for the out before firing the ball to catch Cribbs off first to complete the double play and end the threat.
“I really couldn’t do it without everybody behind me,” Dabbadie said. “They made so many plays for me and this is really a team effort.”
Burroughs added an insurance run in the fifth inning without getting a hit. Alyssa Rosales led off and was hit by a pitch. Kellogg got the next batter out, but then walked Karlee Earl. Kellogg got a second out next, but then walked Rachel Little, which loaded the bases. Rangsiyawong came up next and fouled off three pitches with a full count before taking ball four to drive in Skylar Vanole from third, who was running for Rosales.
The Bulldogs put the leadoff batter on base to open the sixth inning when Burbank senior Sasha Quintanar hit a single. However, Dabbadie dug in and struck out the next three Burbank batters swinging to keep the hosts scoreless.
Burroughs’ final run came in the top of the seventh inning. Little led off with a double off the fence in left-center field. Now with a pitching change and Cafferty in the circle, she struck out the next batter but Little advanced to third when the third strike got away from the catcher, requiring a throw to first for the out. Dabbadie then put the ball in play in the infield and Little scored on a fielder’s choice.
Dabbadie sat the hosts down in order in the bottom of the frame as the Bears earned their Pacific League crown.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs are looking forward to the postseason.
“Not the result we wanted, but I’m still proud of our girls. They had such as amazing [regular] season,” Burbank coach Melissa Sanchez said. “Win or lose, these girls come out here and they give me their hearts, and that is all I ask for. Now we are just going to get ready for CIF.”
First published in the April 29 print issue of the Burbank Leader.