OLIVE PARK — He didn’t know if its hitting slump was due to its week layoff. He thought it might have been because his team was pressing, or it might have just been trying to do too much.
Burroughs High softball Coach Jose Valle just knew that his team struggled at the plate in Thursday’s opening-round game of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs. The Indians had one hit, scored once through five innings and trailed by a run entering the sixth.
But that’s when the Indians finally began playing like Pacific League champions.
Burroughs rallied for a run in both the sixth and seventh innings, as pitcher Heather Haynes drove in Taylor Buliavac with one out in the seventh to lift the Indians to a 3-2 victory against Paso Robles at Olive Park.
The Indians (18-9) will host No. 4-seeded Ayala — a 7-0 winner against Patriot in its playoff opener — in Tuesday’s second round.
“We should’ve been better,” Valle said. “We were sloppy offensively and defensively. The offense took us a while.”
Even though she allowed only one hit through 4 1/3 innings, Paso Robles starting pitcher Jenna Wookey was pulled in the fifth inning in place of Amanda Searcy. Searcy forced a double play to end the fifth, but Burroughs had two consecutive hits with two outs in the sixth to tie the score at 2.
Shannon Trujillo had an infield single and stole second as Jena Serranzana stepped to the plate. The senior then lined a single to center to score Trujillo.
Paso Robles (13-15) had an opportunity to take the lead in the top of the seventh, however, it committed a baserunning blunder. An error by the Indians third baseman set up runners at first and second with two outs. But Molly Donovan of Paso Robles overran second on the error, fell and was tagged out before she could get back.
Burroughs had the momentum and the drive to win it in the seventh.
“I knew we could come back,” Haynes said.
Buliavac started the inning by drawing a six-pitch walk.
“I was thinking, ‘Get on base, do whatever it takes,’ ” she said.
Sophomore Vivian Denardo sacrificed her to second to set up Haynes’ heroics.
Haynes — who also scored the Indians’ first run in the third — drove a 1-1 pitch to short right field. Valle didn’t hesitate to send Buliavac to the plate. The ball reached home plate before Buliavac did, but the catcher bobbled the ball, and the Indians rejoiced.
“I had to roll the dice,” Valle said. “It’s not like we were stringing hits together.”
Haynes didn’t allow many hits herself.
The sophomore pitched a complete game, allowing just two hits, both of which came in the fourth. Haynes was perfect through three innings, walking two, in addition to striking out six.
“The playoffs are all about advancing,” Valle said. “We played good enough to advance.”