BURBANK — Very little separated the Burroughs High and Burbank softball teams heading into Thursday evening's city rivalry and Pacific League showdown at McCambridge Park.
After seven innings, one big victory split the two sides as the visiting Indians squeaked across an unearned run in the fourth inning and rode the arm of pitcher Presley Miraglia's 13-strikeout effort in a 1-0 victory.
"These games are the most exciting games but, at the same time, these are the worst games," Burroughs coach Wes Tanigawa said. "Any mistake, any bad pitch can cost you. It's 1-0 and anything can happen, you know. Our girls were really focused and Presley was extremely focused and we made some key plays and pitches and worked together as a team for this win."
The triumph breaks a two-way tie for second place in league between Burroughs (6-3-1, 5-1) and Burbank (8-7, 4-2) as both squads are chasing Crescenta Valley (17-1, 6-0).
Miraglia was magic in her second game back this season as the senior right-hander fanned 13 batters, stranded five and allowed only four hits in a complete-game effort.
Even with her pitching heroics, one of Miraglia's biggest moments came with the bat.
The Indians clean-up hitter came to bat in the top of the fourth inning with two outs and junior right-fielder Mia Storer on base after a single. Miraglia fought off a 1-2 count with a single to center during a nine-pitch at-bat against Burbank junior pitcher Alyssa Porras.
The hit pushed Storer into scoring position and brought senior Jessica Amaya to the plate. Amaya bounced a ball in the infield that was booted and a head's up Storer raced home from second base to score the game's only run and give Burroughs a 1-0 lead.
Even though Porras shook off the gaffe and retired the next Indians batter to end the inning, the run was still a difficult pill to swallow.
"It's a tough one because we're usually a very solid defensive team," said Burbank coach Mike Delaney, whose squad committed two errors. "It just happens. We have this thing that when someone makes an error, we ask our pitchers to turn around and say, 'Hey, I have your back.' And Alyssa battled out of that jam."
Though Porras didn't display the same dominance as Miraglia, the hurler was certainly effective in allowing only one unearned run on seven hits with three strikeouts.
Porras' best escape act came in the sixth when Burroughs opened with singles from Hannah Talavera, Storer and Chloe Bookmeyer to load the bases with no outs. Porras induced a line-drive comebacker, a fielder's choice at the plate and a fly-out to left field to get out of the inning unscathed.
Burbank's problem, however, wasn't its pitching, but the team's hitting.
A single from Amaya Broyls and an error and stolen base put Bulldogs on second and third base with two outs in the first inning. Miraglia responded by striking out Burbank's next batter to end the threat.
In the fifth, Sarah Taylor singled for Burbank with two outs and stole second. Again, though, Miraglia countered with an inning-ending strikeout.
"It was so great to be out here and I can't describe it. I was just missing this," Miraglia said. "It was a lot of fun out there. I love these games. I don't get nervous; I get excited and it really pumps me up."