When the Burbank Major Softball All-Stars got to the Western Region Tournament and surveyed the opposition, the players and coaches knew they were in for some tough competition.
If the locals hoped to keep their season alive, they would have to beat their share of quality squads from seven states in the prestigious event at Fort Vancouver Little League Fields in Fort Vancouver, Wash.
Burbank definitely got off to a good start Sunday, beginning its Pool A competition with a 5-1 victory against Oregon.
“Oregon was a very good team, and I guess they had been just stomping the other teams around here,” Burbank Managed Bruce Del Castillo said. “In all, there’s some very good teams at the tournament, and some very big girls.”
“But our team is motivated, and they’re focused. They’re ready to take on any team that is put in front of them.”
Burbank, which clinched Section 2 and District 16 championships for the second straight season, is in the midst of playing three games in four days in the event.
Against Oregon, Burbank fell behind, 1-0, in after the first inning.
However, the locals hunkered down on defense and was able to manufacture runs.
Burbank fielders Kaitlin Okimoto, Devina Del Castillo and Delaney Nicol — who had an unassisted double play — all made stellar defensive plays in the fourth and fifth innings to keep Oregon from scoring any additional runs.
Burbank went up 3-1 with three runs in the second inning. The highlight was a single by Denise Daniel that played two runs. Lili Flores delivered a single that scored Daniel.
Daniel led the offense, going two for two with two runs batted in.
If Burbank is able to do well in the tournament, it would qualify for the Little League Softball World Series on Aug. 12-18 at Alpenrose Stadium in Portland, Ore.
Last season in the Western Region Tournament, Burbank won the consolation championship, coming just one game from qualifying for the Little League Softball World Series.
In 2009, Burbank finished a historic season with a 39-2 record. The Major Softball team went farther than any squad — baseball or softball — in the nine-year history of the Burbank Little League.