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Indians win in a thriller

Softball: Burroughs scores on a walk-off bunt in the seventh inning in 4-3 win against Burbank.

April 20, 2012|BY JEFF TULLY
(Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

OLIVE PARK — OLIVE PARK — It was one of the most significant games in the long and storied rivalry between the Burroughs High and Burbank softball programs.

The teams came into Thursday's contest with a combined 25-2 record and both the Indians and Bulldogs sat atop the Pacific League standings, neither having suffered a defeat in league play. In addition, both squads realized the winner would likely have the inside track to this season's league title.

The game definitely lived up to the hype, as Burbank enjoyed a one-run lead over the two-time defending champions heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. But Burroughs was able to pull off some heroics in the final frame, and when senior Caitlin Loera laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt with one out that scored pinch runner Sidney Ortega, the Indians rejoiced in a 4-3 walk-off win in front of a packed crowd at Olive Park.

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With the win, Burroughs (14-1, 6-0 in league) — ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division III — remains as the lone unbeaten team in league.

With the pressure on against the cross-town rival Bulldogs (12-2, 5-0), Loera did what was asked of her at the plate, and it paid dividends.

"There was just a lot of stuff going trough my head at that point," said Loera, who was pulled aside by Coach Doug Nicol prior her at bat and told to pull off the bunt on the second pitch by Burbank starter Caitlyn Brooks. "I wasn't really that nervous, though, I just wanted to make something happen.

"If it hadn't been me it would have been someone else on the team. We always seem to come through."

Trailing, 3-2, the Indians committed the first out of the inning when Brooks forced Megan McKenna to ground out to second. The next batter, Brice Edrington, hit a grounder up the first-base line. Burbank first baseman Crystal Diaz had to tag the runner to get the out, but on contact Edrington knocked the ball out of Diaz's glove and ended up at second base.

After Allie Grimaldo walked, she was replaced on first by Ortega. That brought up Burroughs' leadoff hitter, freshman Michelle Santiago. Santiago connected with a 3-1 pitch, sending it into right field to plate Edrington from second to tie the score at 3.

With Ortega standing at third, Loera took the first pitch she saw for a ball. On the next offering, she squared and delivered a bunt on the right side that was fielded by Brooks. However, with Ortega charging hard from third, she slid in safely with the winning run.

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