LA CRESCENTA — The Burbank High softball team has been in contention for the Pacific League title the past three seasons. Even though the Bulldogs have been one of the more successful teams in the league during that span, they were never able to win at Crescenta Valley.
Burbank was hoping to finally break that record of futility Thursday when the teams squared off in a league contest. Fueled by a solid pitching performance, timely hitting and their ability to take advantage of Falcons errors, the Bulldogs broke that streak in a big way, rolling to a 9-1 win against host Crescenta Valley.
The win keeps Burbank (10-1, 3-0 in league) — ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division III — in first place in league, and more importantly, keeps its hopes alive for the program’s first league championship in more than 15 years. The last time the Bulldogs won a crown was in 1987, and that came in the Foothill League.
“We don’t want to think too far ahead, because we have a lot more league games to play,” Burbank Coach Nicole Drabecki said. “We just want to keep doing what we’ve been doing, which is playing good, solid softball.
“But we came into this season knowing that our goal was to win a league championship, and we’re still focused on that.”
The Bulldogs received a fine outing from sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Brooks. The All-CIF hurler went the distance, giving up five hits while striking out 14.
At the plate, senior center fielder Ashley Russo led the Bulldogs, finishing the day four for five with two runs scored. Brooks also did her part on offense, going two for three with two doubles, a walk, two runs batted in and a run scored. Bridgette Pisa and Lily Winn had two hits each.
The Bulldogs were in attack mode to start the game, scoring two runs in the top of the first only to see the Falcons (6-7-1, 2-1) cut the lead in half with a run in their half of the second.
But that was the only run Brooks would allow.
Burbank increased its advantage to 4-1 with two more runs in the third inning and pushed across another run in the fourth to pad the lead to four runs.
“I think our girls need to walk away from this fully knowing they are capable of making this a different game,” Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Samford said. “But you know what; our girls battled and I thought we did a good job at getting deep in the count and putting runners on base.”
The Falcons loaded the bases in the second and sixth innings with only one out and could account for just the one run.
The Bulldogs kept up the pressure by tacking on another run in the fifth inning and broke the game open in the sixth with three more runs.
“Being a senior, I had never won a game at CV,” Russo said. “This is a big win for us because we really wanted to win here. It was important for us seniors to get the win.”
Chloe Fairbrother was two for three for the Falcons, who scored their only run on an infield error in the second.