Local Junior softball squad takes care of business

GLENDALE — It was important for the Burbank-Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior All-Stars softball team not get ahead of itself in the District 16 tournament.

Temptation was certainly there with just one team — Tujunga — to beat in a best two-out-of-three series for the district title. It certainly appeared Burbank-CV-Foothill didn't take its opponent for granted, though, as it cruised to a pair of 18-0 victories with the district championship win coming Tuesday night at Pelanconi Park in four innings.

"We handled Tujunga all season and I told them don't underestimate an opponent, especially after an 18-0 win," said Burbank-CV-Foothill Manager Will Thayer in reference to Monday's game with Tujunga. "[Before today] I said, 'Pretend you've never seen this team before, just go out and play them as hard as you can play.' They did it."

Offensively, Burbank-CV-Foothill exploded for 19 hits with 10 players joining the parade. Five players — Alex Howard, Kaitlin Okimoto, Jordan Lousararian, Therese Oshiro and Taylor Schaffer — had multi-hit games.

"Even though we won last night basically the same way, it's important to stay in the game and just forget about things that you did in the last game," Okimoto said. "We can't take it lightly."

Schaffer and Okimoto, who just finished her freshman year at Burroughs High, enjoyed the biggest days. Okimoto posted a three-for-three day that included four runs, two singles and stolen bases, a double and a run batted in. Schaffer had four singles, two stolen bases and runs and an RBI.

In the circle, Howard and Oshiro combined for the shutout. Howard struck out six of the nine batters she faced, allowing just three base runners (single, walk, hit by pitch) in two innings. Oshiro, who was two for two with two RBI after being subbed in, retired six of seven batters, gave up a walk and struck out two in two no-hit innings.

"If we overlook them, we wouldn't have been ready for the next tournament," said Howard, who was two for three with two RBI, stolen bases and singles. "We needed to play hard."

Burbank-CV-Foothill took a 4-0 lead in the first inning. A Tujunga error, both mental and mechanical, proved costly. With two outs and a runner at third, Burbank-CV-Foothill grounded to first and instead of stepping on the base to end the inning, the fielder fired home. The off-target throw not only scored that run, but led to two more on a two-run Sophie Georges single in the frame.

While the four-run outburst, which came on four hits, four stolen bases and two errors, was a strong start, it wound up being one of Burbank-CV-Foothill's quieter innings.

It scored six runs before Tujunga even recorded an out in the second. Okimoto and Lousararian each doubled in the inning with Howard adding a two-run single.

Three hits, two errors and a walk led to three more Burbank-CV-Foothill runs in the third with Lousararian and Oshiro each driving in runs on a single and double in the inning. It added four more runs in the fourth on a Camie Ellingford RBI triple and run-scoring singles from Oshiro and Schaffer.

Burbank-CV-Foothill will pick play back up Sunday at 7 p.m. and won't have to travel far to do so, as the Section 2 tournament will take place at Montrose Community Park.

It faces the winner of the two teams who qualify to represent District 40 and 51. The team will attend Saturday's game between the other two teams in the three-team bracket to scout the opposition.

"It's a little different experience to be going five minutes from my house," Thayer said of hosting sectionals. "I'm looking forward to it and I want to take advantage of the home field and hopefully we can get it done."


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