MCCAMBRIDGE PARK — A tweak in the lineup did the Burbank High softball team plenty of good Tuesday afternoon.
On the eve of her team’s CIF Southern Section Division III wild-card home contest against Arroyo Grande, Burbank Coach Nicole Drabecki opted to move Laina Do up to the third spot in the lineup. Do had spent most of the season batting cleanup or fifth.
The move paid dividends as Do contributed a pair of run-scoring singles to lead Burbank to a convincing 6-1 victory.
Burbank (21-6) will next face host La Reina (17-8) in a first-round game at 3:15 p.m. Thursday. Burbank posted an 8-0 victory against La Reina on April 28 at the Thousand Oaks Tournament.
Do, a shortstop, reached base three times and stole two bases to ignite the Bulldogs, who finished third in the Pacific League behind Burroughs and Crescenta Valley, against Arroyo Grande (18-10).
“We expect great things from Laina and we felt confident moving her up,” Drabecki said. “We trust her ability to put the ball in play and you go with the players who are achieving success.”
Do wasted no time doing so. She blooped a single into shallow center off Arroyo Grande pitcher Jillian Compton (17-10) to score Katie Hooper, making it to make it 1-0 in the first inning.
Burbank scored three runs in the second off the Fresno State-bound Compton to extend the advantage to 4-0. Hooper singled to score Jazmin Orozco to make it 2-0 and Caitlyn Brooks followed by doubling in Hooper to raise the lead to 3-0.
Do then singled in Brooks to cap the scoring in the frame.
“It’s about getting focused and being able to move on in the playoffs,” Do said. “We don’t want to go home.
“Things worked out well for us and we played solid defense.”
Ashley Russo made it 5-0 in the third on a sacrifice fly that scored Lily Winn. An error by the Arroyo Grande center fielder allowed Russo to score and raise the lead to 6-0 in the fifth.
Drabecki said the Bulldogs stayed patient against Compton, a right-hander.
“She’s a fast pitcher and we do well against fast pitchers,” said Drabecki, whose team finished with nine hits and five walks against Compton. “We know that we will see that the rest of the way.
“It was crucial to score first. That helped get our confidence going.”
Brooks (14-4) limited Arroyo Grande, which finished third in the PAC-7 League, to eight hits and escaped a couple of jams. The biggest came in the fifth when Arroyo Grande loaded the bases with one out. However, Brooks induced Charlette Yracheta to hit into a 1-2-3 double play to quell the rally.
Brooks struck out five, including three in the second.
“Caitlyn did a good job of hitting her spots,” Do said.
Brooks lost her bid for a shutout in the sixth when Adriana Ranjel delivered a run-scoring single to score Jordan Robinson.
Burbank received two hits from Kaitlin Brooks and Caitlyn Brooks and one apiece from Hooper, Orozco and Bridgette Pisa.
Drabecki, whose team improved to 6-1 in its last seven games, said she expects the rematch with La Reina, which captured theTri-ValleyLeague championship, to be closer.
“They have a good pitcher, so I certainly don’t expect it to be another landslide,” Drabecki said. “We have faith in our team.”
Do agreed with Drabecki.
“I think it’s a small advantage having played them, but you still have to come ready to play,” Do said.
Arroyo Grande got two hits from Compton. The Eagles also received one hit apiece from Maurisa Dominguez, Alexa Wetmore, Mariah Solis, Ranjel and Ramie Castilleja.