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Burbank softball finally able to beat Burroughs

Softball: Bulldogs have inside track to league championship after defeating rival Indians, 3-0.

April 18, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
  • Burbank's Lily Winn slides to second base during a game against Burroughs at McCambridge Park in Burbank on Thursday, April 18, 2013.
Burbank's Lily Winn slides to second base during… (Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

BURBANK — For the past three years, Burbank High softball Coach Nicole Drabecki thought her team had enough talent to win a Pacific League championship.

However, in each of the last three seasons, those title hopes were crushed by cross-town rival Burroughs, which has captured three consecutive league crowns.

PHOTOS: Burroughs vs. Burbank girls' softball

After Thursday's clash against the Indians, Drabecki and the Bulldogs might just be headed for the elusive championship.

Behind a 14-strikeout performance by sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Brooks, Burbank was able to notch a 3-0 win at McCambridge Park in the first of two meetings this season between the rivals.

The win for Burbank (14-1, 7-0 in league) — ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division III — gives it the inside track to the league title. Burbank hasn't captured a championship since 1987, when it was a member of the Foothill League.

"The last time I beat Burroughs was in 2008, and we beat them twice that season," said Drabecki, who is in her seventh season. "I had no idea that it was going to take five years to finally beat them again in what I think is nine attempts. We definitely had some heartbreakers and lost some one-run games during those years.

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"But it feels good to finally be able to defeat them."

The loss is only the second in league for Burroughs (13-6, 5-2), which also fell to Crescenta Valley.

It looked as if the Indians were going to put pressure on the Bulldogs early when Michelle Santiago opened the game with a triple she roped down the right-field line. After Brooks notched a strikeout, Kaitlin Okimoto came to the plate. The freshman hit a soft liner in the air to Brooks, who fired to third to double off Santiago.

"Our problem was that we just couldn't string enough hits together to score runs," Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol said. "I am just really proud of my team and the way that they played. We just didn't have the bounces go our way and they scored their runs on either walks or errors. It could have easily been a 1-0 or 2-0 game."

After the lead-off hit, Brooks bore down and seemed to get stronger as the game wore on. She ended up surrendering three hits.

Brooks said she was motivated by playing against the rival Indians.

"I get up against them in a way, my confidence gets up and I think I pitch better," said Brooks, who has 195 strikeouts on the year. "I just get really excited playing against them."

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