After Burroughs High School’s softball team scored the first five runs in its CIF-SS Division IV quarterfinal against visiting El Dorado High of Placentia, the Bears ceded the next five runs to the Golden Hawks, forcing extra innings and laying the groundwork for some postseason heroics.
“I’ve got a team with a lot of heart,” Burroughs coach Doug Nicol said.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Bears got a walk-off hit from sophomore Alyssa Morales to win the game, 6-5, Thursday afternoon at Olive Park and advance to the CIF semifinals in dramatic fashion.
“Honestly, I can’t believe that happened,” Morales said of her game-winner. “I just took a deep breath and hoped for the best.”
The win lifts the Bears (24-4 record) into today’s semifinal matchup at Fullerton, with the winner advancing to the championship game.
Burroughs’ Phoebe Spangler led off the bottom of the ninth inning by swatting the third pitch of the at-bat into the gap in right-center field for a single. Alyssa Rosales followed and lined the third pitch of her at-bat into right field for a single that moved Spangler into scoring position with no outs.
However, El Dorado’s Hailey Skullr, who had been pitching in relief since the third inning, struck out the next two Burroughs batters. That brought up Morales. The sophomore took a ball and then hit the next pitch into right field. Spangler took off from second and beat the throw home with ease, bringing the contest to an end.
“I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’ve got to score.’ I was running so fast,” Spangler said. “A [Golden Hawk] was in my way and I just pushed her because I knew I just had to get home. It was amazing. I’m glad Alyssa was the one that hit it because she has been working so hard.”
Burroughs (24-4 record) jumped out early with a run in the bottom of the opening frame. Rachel Little led off the game and ended up on second after the centerfielder for El Dorado (16-14) dropped a fly ball. Gizelle Rangsiyawong followed with a single to left field to score Little the run.
In the bottom of the third inning, Burroughs expanded the advantage, plating four more runs. The Bears loaded the bases with no outs against starting pitcher Haley Tucker thanks to a single by Rangsiyawong, a walk issued to Stevie Dabbadie and Chloe Centeno being hit by a pitch. Spangler then smashed an 0-2 pitch for a double into right-center field to drive in three runs and chase Tucker.
“I was kind of struggling the last couple games and I knew I just had to get on it. I had to be aggressive, so I got my pitch [to hit], it was a really good pitch, and I got it. It felt really good,” Spangler said of her three-run double.
Skullr took over in the circle and Rosales welcomed her with an infield single. Lilly Lewis successfully advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Spangler then scored the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to right field by freshman Karlee Earl.
Burroughs was cruising until the top of the sixth, when the visitors finally broke through against Dabbadie in the circle. The senior hurler got the first batter out before the Golden Hawks loaded the bases via an error and back-to-back walks. El Dorado then scored its first run on a sacrifice fly by Gianna Baca. That was followed with a triple by Carly Parmenter that drove in two more. Kennedy Calderon followed with a single to score Parmenter and cut the Bears’ lead to 5-4. Dabbadie got the next batter out to end the threat.
The margin was still a run entering the top of the seventh. Dabbadie got the first batter out, but the second batter, Peyton Clark, reached on a single. The next batter hit a ground ball up the middle that had potential to be turned into a game-ending double play, but it was mishandled and the error put runners on the corners. Jojo Johnson then tied the game with a groundout that scored Clark.
Burroughs had runners on the corners with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Morales popped out to end the threat and force extra innings.
Dabbadie, who went the distance in the circle for the Bears to earn the hard-fought win, held the Golden Hawks scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings to set up Morales’ game-winning hit. The senior pitcher recorded seven strikeouts along the way.
“Stevie is a workhorse,” Nicol said. “Stevie may not be the fastest pitcher; she may not have the most movement … but she’s the toughest pitcher. So when she gets in trouble, she figures it out. She’s a beast.”
Burroughs will now go on the road to face Fullerton in the semifinals today.
“This is our second year in a row getting [to the semifinals]. Not many programs get to experience this, so we’re excited,” Nicol said.
First published in the May 13 print issue of the Burbank Leader.