OLIVE PARK — A dominating pitching performance and solid defense from its first-round opponent ended the Burroughs High softball team’s season Thursday afternoon.
The usually potent Indians’ offense was held to one hit by St. Lucy’s starting pitcher Danielle O’Toole, who willed the Regents to a 1-0 victory against Burroughs in the teams’ CIF Division III opening-round match at Olive Park.
“All the credit to their pitcher,” said first-year Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol, whose squad won a share of the Pacific League title for the second consecutive season and had won nine of 10 before being upset by the Regents. “We had some good hits, but it seemed like they were all to somebody, or they made defensive plays. The softball gods were against us in that respect.”
Burroughs’ starting pitcher Heather Haynes had a solid outing, giving up just three hits and three walks. But two of each came in the fourth inning when St. Lucy’s loaded the bases, setting up Cassandra Valizan’s single up the middle that plated Amber Vernetti for the only run of the game.
“We had more opportunities, so it would have been a crushing blow to lose the game,” said Regents Coach Ryan Nuverman, whose team was the third seed from the Sierra League. “Our senior came through in the clutch and hit it just hard enough to get that run across.”
The fourth inning highlighted a game otherwise controlled by pitching and defense. The Regents (15-12) put their leadoff hitter on in three of the first four innings, but had a runner in scoring position in just two of them. Haynes walked the leadoff hitter of the game, who advanced to second on a wild pitch with no outs. But Haynes ultimately settled down and got out of the jam unscathed.
After three innings, both Haynes (9-3) and O’Toole had given up just one hit and one walk each. Burroughs’ junior hurler then pitched into trouble in the fourth before giving up the two-out single, while O’Toole kept cruising, her lone hit off the bat of Indians’ third baseman Hallie White in the second.
The Indians (19-8) put runners in scoring position in the first and second innings, but none thereafter. Shannon Trujillo advanced to third after a throwing error on a steal attempt at second base. It would be the biggest threat for O’Toole, who struck out five batters and had two walks.
Trujillo reached base on an error, and went hitless in the game. The junior led the team in hitting this season with eight home runs and 34 runs batted in.
“None of this would have been possible without Danielle,” Nuverman said. “She held a good-hitting team to just one hit and three base runners.”
“The pitchers matched each other equally,” Nicol said. “We went up against some of the best pitchers in Southern California to prepare us for this moment, but it’s been a month and a half since [we’ve not been] in league play. You can’t simulate it.”
The Indians shared the league title with Crescenta Valley. The Falcons handed Burroughs its lone defeat since a nonleague loss to Westlake on April 9. Thursday’s loss sent the team to an offseason that came sooner than they had hoped.
The squad carries only five seniors, leaving Nicol sounding optimistic about next season.
“I’m proud of all they accomplished this season,” Nicol said. “They are back-to-back Pacific League champions and nobody can ever take that away.”