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Improved Burbank Suffers First Defeat


GLENDALE — Expectations are usually low at Burbank High, where the softball team was 28-58 the last four seasons and 0-10 in the Foothill League in 1999.

"I used to dread going to the field," said left fielder Leslie Alfaro, a four-year varsity player. "It was miserable."

The mood has improved considerably this season, despite a 1-0 loss to El Segundo on Friday in the championship game of the Hoover High tournament at Hoover.

"It's a lot different," Alfaro said. "This is the best team we've had since I've been here. I actually get up looking forward to our games this year."

The Bulldogs (6-1) have defeated area rivals Glendale and Hoover twice each. They also have defeated Village Christian and have upcoming games against Burbank neighbors Providence and Burroughs, a Foothill League rival.

"It's a goal to beat all the teams in our area," said Coach Debby Day, who played for Burbank in the 1980s and is one of the region's top all-time pitchers.

The Bulldogs' lineup features two freshmen and four sophomores, including all-league first baseman Tiffany Rhoads.

Senior pitcher Emily Brower (4-1) and sophomore catcher Kristin Carr have been impact players since transferring from Burroughs.

Against El Segundo, Brower struck out eight and allowed five hits. The only run she allowed came in the fourth inning, when the Eagles (6-0) parlayed three errors into the only support pitcher Marissa Berkes (4-0) would need.

El Segundo was averaging eight runs per game.

Berkes, the tournament's most valuable player, struck out six and allowed only three baserunners.

She retired the first 12 batters before Carr singled sharply to lead off the fifth.

Carr walked with two out in the seventh and took second on a single by Kristin Talamantes. Alfaro grounded out to end the threat.

"To me, 6-1 doesn't sound as good as 7-0," Brower said. "But we can't let that get us down."

In other Hoover tournament games:

Glendale 4, Hoover 2--Karla Hale and Kristine Rader had run-scoring singles in a three-run eighth inning for the Dynamiters (2-3), who defeated their Pacific League rivals in the third place game at Pelanconi Park.

San Fernando 6, Eagle Rock 4--Sunshine Gallardo and Julie Jimenez each collected two hits, two RBIs and one triple to give the Tigers (8-2) a victory over Eagle Rock (9-2) in the consolation championship game at Glendale High.

Verdugo Hills 8, Granada Hills 2--Jessica McGivney singled, doubled, drove in two runs and pitched a four-hitter for the Dons, (3-3-1) who won the seventh-place game at Pelanconi Park.

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