GLENDALE — Through three innings, there didn't seem to be much separating the respective first- and fifth-place Burbank and Glendale high softball teams Thursday — outside of an error.
Those errors continued to pile up, as the Nitros committed seven in the game, turning a three-run game into a 14-0 mercy-rule, five-inning blowout for the Bulldogs, who improved to 18-1, 9-0 in the Pacific League, at Glendale High.
“I think we did pretty good, we capitalized on them,” said Burbank’s Julia Duarte, who was three for three with three runs batted in and three scored, of Glendale’s miscues. “We took advantage of the errors and we didn’t let our hitting get us down. We weren’t doing so great in the beginning, but we still came up and got the win.”
In what’s become a bit of a theme for a young Glendale team this season, everything fell apart in one inning. Down, 3-0, headed into the fourth, the wheels came off for the Nitros as the Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division III, racked up seven runs on four hits, a walk and four errors — including one that put the leadoff batter aboard — in the inning.
“It just seems to be working out like that for us this season,” said Glendale Coach Christine Paknik, whose team fell to 5-10, 3-6. “It’s like the curse of the one inning.”
Duarte and Tiffany Pisa (two for two) both got their second RBI singles of the day in the fourth inning, which also included a two-run double from Lily Winn for Burbank, which had 12 hits in the win.
With five games left in the league season, the Bulldogs need three more wins to secure a league title with Crescenta Valley (10-8-1, 6-2) and Burroughs (14-6, 6-2) coming into Thursday tied for second place.
“I feel our girls really believe in themselves, they believe in us as a coaching staff and I feel they really want to accomplish a great goal for the city of Burbank,” said Bulldogs Coach Nicole Drabecki, whose team faces CV at home Tuesday and Burroughs in its league finale May 9.
Glendale will need to scrap and likely win out to have a chance at a playoff berth.
“It’s got to be a strong comeback,” Paknik said. “We’ve got to come out stronger every game. We have to leave the past behind us and move forward. It’s in their hands, now they have to get it out of their head.”
A Kaitlin Brooks leadoff single and a two-out rally that was composed of three straight hits from Bridgette Pisa (RBI single), Duarte (RBI triple) and Tiffany Pisa (RBI single) staked Burbank to a 3-0 advantage in the top of the second.
Glendale had a chance to escape the frame unscathed. After Brooks’ leadoff single, a sacrifice bunt and fly out, the Bulldogs were in need of a hit to score Brooks.
Bridgette Pisa responded with a push bunt that was lined just past Glendale's Alia Zavala at first base. The Nitros’ second baseman picked up the ball but couldn't beat Bridgette in a foot race to first.
Brooks (two for four, RBI) rounded third and came home. While the throw beat her to the plate, it was off target and skipped off the dirt and to the fence, allowing Brooks to slide in safely.
Run-scoring singles from Duarte, Jazmin Orozco (two for four), Brooks, three walks and two Glendale errors capped the scoring in the fifth.
“The potential is there, it’s just the mind set,” Paknik said. “If you make an error you’ve got to be able to bounce back, not show your emotions on your face and get it done. These are the growing pains you have with a young team.”
Caitlyn Brooks was dominant in her three innings in the circle for Burbank. The starter struck out four and allowed just one baserunner on a Zavala single.
Glendale’s Jordan Lousararian and Rachel Bartamian both had singles in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, off Burbank reliever Ashley Russo, who struck out two and gave up two hits and a walk in two innings.