If it was meant to send a message, the offering definitely served its purpose.
The Burbank Major Softball All-Star team was hoping to kickoff the 2010 Little League Softball World Series with a big effort. Following an overwhelming victory in the opening game of the tournament Thursday, Burbank might just have made itself the talk of the event in the early going.
Taking part in their first pool-play contest at Alpenrose Stadium in Portland, Ore, the locals played aggressively and were able to roll to an 18-2 win against Puerto Rico.
The game was called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
"Before the game, we told the girls just to go out there play hard and give it their best effort," Burbank Manager Bruce Del Castillo said. "We wanted them to just play the way they have played all season.
"But after the win, I think we showed the other teams how hard we play and what kind of a team we are. We might have sent the message that we're going to be a tough team to beat."
Burbank played a pool-play game late Friday night against British Columbia. The locals will continue pool play at 9:45 a.m. today with a contest against Brenham, Texas and finish the round with a 2:30 p.m. game Sunday against Poland, Ohio.
Fresh from capturing the Western Region Tournament last week, Burbank wasted little time revving up its offense against Puerto Rico.
In the top of the first inning, the locals received a single from Delaney Nicol, doubles by Davina Del Castillo and Michelle Santiago and a triple by Kaitlin Okimoto — all in the team's first five at bats. Bridgette Pisa also singled in the inning to stake Burbank to a 4-0 lead.
However, two walks and an error by Burbank in the bottom of the first allowed Puerto Rico to cut the lead in half, 4-2.
"I think we were a little nervous in that first inning," Bruce Del Castillo said. "And that probably contributed to them being able to score runs. But after that inning I thought we settled down and we played a lot better.
After a rocky start, Burbank starting pitcher Jade Teetsel, who picked up the win, settled down. She combined with relievers Davina Del Castillo and Ashton Akins to limit Puerto Rico to just one hit over the final four innings.
Puerto Rico, which had just two hits, committed five errors, which helped Burbank sustain rallies.
Burbank was paced by Santiago, who was three for four with a double, three runs batted in and three runs scored, and Okimoto, who was two for three with a two talks, a triple, an RBI and three runs scored.
The locals tore up the basepaths, as their aggressive running yielded nine stolen bases — two each by Okimoto, Santiago and Pisa.
"We like to play aggressive ball," Del Castillo said. "When our girls see an opportunity to run, they take it. We really like to run."
Burbank sent 11 players to the plate in the third inning, scoring six runs on three hits to take a 10-2 advantage.
Holding an 11-2 lead, 13 players came to the plate in the fifth inning, allowing Burbank to push across another seven runs on three hits.