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Burbank area softball teams trying to repeat success

Burbank Bulldogs look like team to beat in league, while Burroughs Indians, Providence Pioneers and Bell-Jeff Guards try and replace key players.

February 26, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com

There was a great deal of success enjoyed by the four local softball teams during the 2012 season.

Burroughs High and Bellarmine-Jefferson captured league championships. Providence remained in the running for a share of a league title until the final regular season contest and Burbank was still in contention for a crown up until the final week of the Pacific League campaign.

Bell-Jeff went on to play in its second consecutive CIF Southern Section Division VII championship game and the Bulldogs made an impressive run to the Division III quarterfinals

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Heading into the 2013 season, three of the squads are dealing with their share of departures. Like the Pioneers, the Indians lost some key contributors to graduation. However, Burroughs has also had to deal with situation of players deciding not to come out for the team.

The Guards are dealing with another predicament completely. Although the squad did lose All-Area player Jaylen Watson, who moved, the team has also endured a rash of injuries that will have a group of athletes sidelined for the start of the season.

The lone team that isn’t dealing with those problems is Burbank. Most of the Bulldogs return this season, and many are picking them to be the favorites in the Pacific League.

Here is a closer look at the teams.

BURBANK

Under coach Nicole Drabecki, Burbank (23-7) rolled to the quarterfinals for the first time in two decades, despite getting the No. 3 seed from the Pacific League after tying for second place.

In the playoffs, the Bulldogs defeated La Reina, 1-0, in the first round before earning a 1-0 win against Downey in the second round. Burbank fell in the quarterfinals, however, to Bishop Amat, 10-4.

The lone contributor lost to graduation from that squad was All-Area infielder Nalani Hernandez.

“We definitely have the talent on this team this season,” Drabecki said. “We have four seniors on this team who obviously have never won a Pacific League title or a CIF title, so we will be looking to hopefully do both if we can.”

A lot of those aspirations will rest on the arm of sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Brooks, who earned first-team All-CIF, All-Area and all-league accolades a year ago. Brooks made an instant impact with the Bulldogs, notching a 16-5 record and a 1.95 earned-run average to go along with 180 strikeouts in 147 innings. She was just as impressive at the plate, with a .429 average, 23 runs batted in and 22 runs.

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