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Bulldogs lose 'tough one' in softball playoffs

Softball: No. 2 Burbank dropped in second round of playoffs my Sunny Hills in extra innings at home, 8-7.

May 21, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
(Roger Wilson / Staff…)

BURBANK — In command with a huge lead entering the seventh inning, things appeared in order for the Burbank High softball team to extend its season.

The Bulldogs were in control with ace pitcher Caitlyn Brooks in the circle and three outs from victory. They then encountered trouble before seeing their season come to a close in heartbreaking fashion.

PHOTOS: Burbank softball in CIF second-round softball game 

Second-seeded Burbank yielded five runs in the seventh and two in the eighth en route to an 8-7 home loss to Sunny Hills on Tuesday in a CIF Southern Section Division III second-round contest at McCambridge Park.

Burbank, which captured the Pacific League championship, finished 25-3. Sunny Hills, which won the Freeway League crown, improved to 19-8.

"That was quite a game and a tough one to lose," Burbank Coach Nicole Drabecki said. "You can't play defense against timely hitting, and that exactly what [Sunny Hills] did.

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"With a 6-1 lead, you should close the door. We left the door open."

The Lancers strode to the plate confident against Brooks, who appeared to tire as the game went along, in the seventh.

Brooks allowed three straight singles to begin the frame before Shay Knighten registered a bases-clearing double to reduce the deficit to 6-4. A run-scoring single by Amber Elliott made it 6-5 before Viviana Ruiz knotted it at 6 with an RBI double. The Lancers had six hits in the seventh after recording five in the first six innings.

In the eighth, Brooks (25-3) got into immediate trouble. She gave up a lead-off single to Vanessa Batt before MJ Knighten followed with a triple to give the Lancers a 7-6 lead. Shay Knighten then had a run-scoring single to give Sunny Hills an 8-6 advantage.

Burbank tallied a run in the eighth to close out the scoring. With one out, Sunny Hills starting pitcher Riley Nahrwold walked Bridgette Pisa. Brooks was then intentionally walked before Katie Hooper delivered a run-scoring single to left to drive in Pisa. On the play, Brooks was thrown out at third by the left fielder on a bang-bang play. Lily Winn then flied to left to end the contest.

Brooks, a sophomore, credited Sunny Hills' ability to make adjustments at the plate late in the game.

"They placed the hits where they needed to," said Brooks, who allowed 15 hits and struck out seven in going the distance. "They have some good hitters.

"I think the mental aspect of being up 6-1 got to us. It's definitely a learning experience."

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