The Lady Panthers have been waiting all season for that one explosive inning.
Tuesday at Aragon, they got it.
Burlingame softball (1-2 PAL Bay, 5-3 overall) enjoyed a five-run best rally in the fifth inning, batting around for the first time all season by sending 10 batters to the plate to overtake host Aragon for a 5-4 victory.
“It was a good feeling,” Burlingame head coach John Saucedo said. “When kids feel comfortable and start hitting — one starts hitting and then the next and the next — they look pretty good out there. But you can’t take this team lightly. That’s a good team we just beat.”
With Aragon (2-1, 7-3) leading 4-0 heading into the fifth, Burlingame cleanup hitter Sydney Fleming got her team on the board by demolishing a three-run home run to left. The Panthers went on to load the bases for sophomore Kailey Latin, who drew a bases-loaded walk to tie it. Sophia Palacio then dashed home on a wild pitch to score the go-ahead run.
Palacio’s read on the wild pitch that allowed her to score the game-winning run was cause for some drama. The senior saw Aragon starting pitcher Holly Fletcher’s offering bounce in the dirt, but she initially thought the Aragon catcher gloved it. That wasn’t the case, but as the ball skipped to the backstop, Palacio didn’t run initially.
“I was a little worried because you see the ball rolling, but she thought [the catcher] caught it,” Saucedo said. “But it worked out.”
Burlingame starting pitcher Chloe McNamara did the rest. The senior right-hander joined the team late this season due to personal issues. Tuesday’s outing marked just her second appearance of the season, as well as her first start.
After surrendering two runs in the first and two more in the second, McNamara was nearly untouchable. She allowed a leadoff single to Makaila Tuakoi to start the third inning. From there, she set down 15 of the last 16 batters she faced, including the last nine in a row.
Overall, McNamara went the distance, allowing four runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four.
“Chloe came in excited, ready to play,” Saucedo said. “She came in with a great attitude and put it on the field, and pitched a great game.”
Aragon freshman Megan Grant extended her hitting streak to start the year to nine games, going 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored. With one on and two outs in the first, she squared up the first pitch she saw to hammer a double off the wall in left-center. Then with runners at first and third, Tuakoi shot a two-run single to put Aragon on the board.
In the second, the Dons added to their lead. With the bases loaded, junior Shannon Galliano flared an RBI single to left to score Elisa Jee. A bases-loaded walk then forced in Samantha Kennedy to up the lead to 4-0.
Grant then stepped to the plate with one out and the bases loaded but grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Then in the fifth, Grant was involved in an infield error to open the door for Burlingame. With one out and no one on, Grant gobbled up a grounder to short but threw a fastball to first that was dropped by the first baseman.
The error wasn’t changed to Grant: “but I did throw it in a bit hot,” she said.
Then with two outs, Kailey O’Connor hit a fly ball down the left-field line that the left fielder Jee nearly gloved on a diving attempt. Instead, O’Connor reached on a double to put runners at second and third. Fleming then stepped to the plate and put a charge into a fastball for her second home run of the year.
“It felt pretty good off the bat,” Fleming said.
The blast closed the deficit to 4-3 but the next four Burlingame batters reached to take the lead.
“I think we definitely feed off each other’s energy,” Fleming said. “And if one person gets a hit it kind of hypes everyone else up.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Grant was due up fourth in the inning. The freshman entered hitting .750 (18 for 24) while tied for third in the state with seven home runs. McNamara, though, set the side down in order to leave the dangerous left-handed power hitter standing in the on-deck circle.
“It happens,” Grant said. “That’s how the game works, it humbles you.”
Aragon entered the day as one of three unbeaten teams through the first week of Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division play. Hillsdale also suffered its first league loss, falling to unbeaten Carlmont 11-0.
Carlmont now takes over sole possession of first place in the PAL Bay Division. Hillsdale, Aragon, San Mateo and Woodside are all even in the loss column with one loss apiece.