By Daniel Dullum
Burbank, Calif., jumped to an early lead, then iced the game with a 10-run seventh inning Monday, in a 15-4 consolation victory over Apache Junction, completing participation for both teams in the Little League West Regional Junior Softball Tournament at Tucson.
Apache Junction (2-3 in the West Regional) trailed 5-0 before scoring twice in the fifth inning. Emily Lecher singled and scored on a fielder’s choce by Addison Cooksey. Ainsley Pape, who reached on an error while executing a sacrifice bunt, scored on Zoe Siegle’s RBI double, cutting the Outlaws’ deficit to 5-2.
The Outlaws pulled to within 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Makayla Henwood singled, stole second and third, and scored on a passed ball.
But Burbank exploded for 10 runs in the top of the seventh, sending 14 batters to the plate. Makenna Palamara, Kaelyn Freed and Daniella Gray each had run-scoring hits.
After a two-RBI single by Clarisa Robles, AJ pitcher Tristan Greer was replaced by Sarah Nieman, who retired the first two batters she faced.
In her second at-bat of the inning, Palamara rapped an RBI single and Melissa Orozco walked to load the bases. Freed followed with a bases-clearing single to left, driving in three more Burbank runs.
In the bottom of the seventh, Nieman reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on an infield error.
Palamara and Reed each drove in four runs for Burbank, which rocked AJ pitching for 14 earned runs on 16 hits. Calista Lee threw two scoreless innings to get the win.
Siegel was 3-for-4, Cooksey and Henwood each had two hits, and Henwood stole three bases.
Apache Junction finished its season with an overall record of 19-6.