GLENDALE — In an elimination game in the Little League District 16 Major Softball Knock-Out Tournament, the Burbank Ruthless team was trying to rebound a from a tough loss a night earlier against the Crescenta Valley Red Hots.
A win would put the Burbank squad in the championship contest.
Its opponent, the rival Bees, also from Burbank, was attempting to reach the title game without a legitimate pitcher. The Bees had one pitcher who was out with an injured wrist and their other hurler had thrown the night before in a win.
Against Ruthless, the Bees were forced to call on a position player to get the job done in the circle.
Although the pitcher held her own in the early going, Ruthless was able to break an early tie and came on in the latter part of the contest to come away with a 20-7 victory at Scholl Canyon Ballfields in a game called after five innings because of the mercy rule.
The win puts Ruthless into the championship game at 5 p.m. Friday at Scholl. The Burbank squad will take on the Red Hots, a team it lost to, 9-4, on Tuesday.
"We knew this was a big game for us and we knew it was important for us to win it to get to the championship game," Ruthless Coach Peter Orozco said. "We knew that they didn't have their pitcher and we had to take advantage of that. I thought our girls did a good job at the plate, taking a lot of walks and hitting the ball."
Getting the call in the circle for the Bees was Chloe Bookmeyer. The hurler held her own early on, as the teams were tied, 5-5, after two innings. But the Ruthless hitters were able to break things open by pushing across five runs in the third, four more in the fourth and six in the fifth.
Ruthless scored its 20 runs on just nine hits and took advantage of 15 walks. The Bees also committed six errors.
"She had never pitched before," Bees Coach Manny Travieso said of Bookmeyer. "She is our power hitter and our shortstop and not a pitcher at all. But we needed somebody and I thought she did a fantastic job. She did the best job that she could and we are proud of her.
"We knew that using our No. 1 pitcher Tuesday and our other pitcher being injured, this game was going to be an uphill battle for us."
Ruthless received a good effort from third baseman Memorie Munos, who was three for five with a walk and four runs scored. Teammate Isabella Orozco walked four times and scored two runs and Asia Morales was two for three with a double, two walks and six runs batted in.
Pitcher Mia Garcia went the distance for Ruthless, giving up six hits, walking eight and striking out one. There were only two strikeouts in the game, one on each side.
Ruthless jumped in front with three runs in the top of the first inning. The Bees responded with two runs in their half of the first.
Ruthless made it 5-2 by tallying two runs in the second, but the Bees bounced back with three in the bottom of the frame to tie things up at 5.
"Even after it was tied, we knew we had it," Garcia said. "We knew we were going to win the game because we have a good hitting team and we knew we could score runs."
Over the final three innings, Ruthless outscored the Bees, 15-2.
Follow Jeff Tully on Twitter: @jefftsports.