Apaches impress despite 1-0 loss to Burbank, the No. 3 team in the CIF-SS Division III rankings
Above: Arcadia pitcher Patricia Stark, right, and catcher Caitlin Grimes. (Staff photo Keith Birmingham)
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
ARCADIA – It’s hard to get overly excited about moral victories.
But if there was ever a day, Thursday was it for the Arcadia High School softball team.
The Apaches sent a message that they’re much improved against Burbank, the No. 3-ranked team in the latest CIF-Southern Section Division III poll.
An early run on an error was the difference as visiting Burbank escaped with a 1-0 Pacific League victory.
The Bulldogs (17-1, 8-1) out-hit Arcadia (10-7, 7-3) 6-3, but it hardly was as easy as their 12-1 win over the Apaches on March 18.
“Of course, I’m proud of their progress,” first-year Arcadia coach Megan Leahy said.
Part of the reason for the resurgence is Apaches sophomore pitcher Patricia Stark.
After giving up five hits in the first two innings, Stark (6-3) settled down the rest of the game in holding a Burbank team which had scored 50 runs in its last four games to just one run.
“I’ve been going to my pitching lessons and I’ve been trying to keep strong,” Stark said. “As a team, all of us have improved since the last time.
“It wasn’t the turnout that we wanted, but we stayed in it as a team until the end.”
Added Leahy: “Patricia pitched a heck of a game and our defense really stepped up. Lindsey Hermann in left field and Morgan Barchan in center just had some great defensive plays.”
Stark struck out six in the defeat.
“Even though we did lose the game by such a close call, it was great improvement,” Stark said.
Arcadia managed three hits off junior pitcher Kristin Peraza, but couldn’t get the key hit when it counted.
With her team down a run, Barchan led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, went to second on a sacrifice by Dusty Gibbs and stole third.
But Peraza clamped down and struck out Caitlin Grimes and Samantha Miller to get out of the jam.
“Unfortunately, in a one-run game you can’t have that,” Leahy said. “It wasn’t our day at the plate, but I’m still happy and proud of them.
“I have the most respect for Burbank’s players and coaches. They’re a great squad, and we played up to their level and that can only help us.”
Peraza collected 15 strikeouts, including the final five batters she faced.
“I can tell you that she’s a phenomenal pitcher,” Burbank coach Nicole Drabecki said. “She brings a lot of heat, and the thing that makes her special is when she mixes her pitches, in my opinion, she’s the most dominant.”
Burbank got the run it needed in the second.
Megan Schafer doubled with one out and scored on a throwing error by Gibbs on a ball hit by Peraza.
Barchan, Samantha Miller and Kristin Phillipi each had singles for Arcadia.
Sophomore Kassy Uchida was 3-for-4 to lead Burbank.
The Bulldogs stranded seven runners, while the Apaches left four on base.
“I definitely expected Arcadia to be competitive,” Drabecki said. “I heard that their team has improved overall and I was expecting a tough game today.”