SHERMAN OAKS — Shannon Trujillo stepped up to the plate with the game still in question and her team counting on her — and that’s exactly how she wanted it.
The catcher for the Burroughs High softball team who Coach Doug Nicol calls the leader of the squad, came through in the clutch situation, hitting her third home run of the season in the sixth inning of a 9-5 nonleague road victory in the second game of a doubleheader with Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
The two-run blast opened the gap between the Bulldogs and the Knights, who split the two games at Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park Thursday, as Notre Dame took the earlier game, 4-2.
“I’m the leader of the team, so I want to be at the plate in those situations every time,” said Trujillo, who also had three singles to go along with the home run. “I always expect to go four for four.”
As the catcher of the defending Pacific League champions, Trujillo caught Burroughs (4-3) starting pitcher and All-CIF junior Heather Haynes, who tossed a complete game. Haynes showed her strengths in the circle as well as at the plate, as she pitched well except for a stint in the third inning when the Knights loaded the bases and got a triple from Elana Helfand that plated all three base runners to tie the game at 4.
“Heather pitched a great game,” said Nicol, who is in his first year. “We expect to keep opponents under five runs, and anywhere from three to five runs every game.”
Haynes helped her cause with a triple of her in the fifth inning, breaking the tie and scoring Taylor Buliavac and Haley Shulman to gave the Indians a 6-4 advantage — a lead that would suffice.
The Knights (5-1) threatened in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring one, but ultimately couldn’t plate the game-tying run with a runner at third.
Shulman pitched the first game of the doubleheader and didn’t receive enough support from the Burroughs offense that left nine runners on base.
"[In the first game], the girls were still in spring-break mode, so they were cold,” Nicol said. “It took them a while to get their motors going.”
The rust wore off eventually and the motors got going enough for the Indians to score the most runs in a game thus far this season.
In addition to Trujillo’s shot that scored Brice Edrington — who started the inning with a bunt single — the Indians got a free run thanks to a balk from relief pitcher Jessica Hammond, who came in for Kate Bradley after the starter gave up the home run.
Bradley pitched into trouble all game, giving up two runs in the second and third innings as the Indians took an early 4-1 lead on a RBI-single from Haynes — her third.
Haynes, along with Trujillo, was instrumental in four of the team’s final five runs that sealed the third victory in four games for the Indians, and gave Notre Dame its first loss of the season.
“Players look up to me, so I’m always expecting more from myself,” said Trujillo who has nine RBI in seven games.