Huge opening inning propels Burroughs High softball team past Glendale

GLENDALE — Cheyenne Steward wasted no time helping the Burroughs High softball team get back on track.

Looking to shake off a disappointing effort in Burroughs’ previous contest against Crescenta Valley, Steward proved to be up to the task with her bat and arm leading the charge Thursday.

Steward hit a first-inning home run and pitched five effective innings to lift visiting Burroughs to a 7-2 Pacific League victory against Glendale.

Steward hit a two-run home run to highlight a five-run opening inning. She then made the lead hold up, limiting Glendale to two hits before being relieved by Dani Ryan to begin the sixth.

“It calms you down when you can have a big first inning like we did,” said Steward, who yielded six first-inning runs in a 7-3 league defeat against Crescenta Valley on Tuesday. “It’s very reassuring to know that you can then go out there and pitch the way you are supposed to.

“I’ve been in a hitting slump for a while. I was just trying to get any kind of a hit in that first at-bat. I liked the way our team responded after losing [Tuesday].”

Burroughs, which has won three league championships in a row and is ranked No. 9 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division III poll, improved to 12-5, 4-1 in league. Glendale dropped to 3-10, 2-3.

Burroughs registered four first-inning hits against Glendale freshman starting pitcher Jordan Lousararian. Sidney Ortega gave Burroughs a 2-0 lead with a two-run triple and then scored on a single by Kaitlyn Okimoto.

Steward then hit a two-run inside-the-park home run to complete the scoring.

“It was huge to get off to a good start,” Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol said. “I’m really happy with the way we started out, but we still need to show progress on playing a full seven innings.

“Cheyenne has been struggling with the bat. We’ve told her to just see the ball and hit it and do it by not thinking so much. She pitched well, something I’m happy about.”

Burroughs padded its lead to 6-0 in the second. Michelle Santiago led off with a triple and scored on a bunt by Delaney Nicol.

The Nitros tried to chip away at the big lead, but Steward induced double plays in the second and third.

Glendale cut the deficit to 6-1 in the sixth on a throwing error by the pitcher that allowed Meghan Spencer to score.

Burroughs and Glendale swapped seventh-inning runs. The Indians made it 7-1 when Nicol scored on a wild pitch. The Nitros closed out the scoring as Rachel Bartamian scored on an error.

Bartamian had two hits for the Nitros.

Glendale Coach Christine Paknik said the Nitros had difficulty overcoming the slow start.

“We had some errors and that helped open the gate,” Paknik said. “It’s hard enough to score in this game.

“We have five freshmen in the lineup who have stepped up nicely. They battled for seven innings and that’s what it’s all about.”

The teams will meet again at 3:30 p.m. May 3 at Olive Park.

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