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Los Alamitos softball executes ‘small details’ for big victory against Huntington Beach

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No detail ever seems too insignificant for Los Alamitos’ softball team under coach Rob Weil, especially with in-game situations.

One of the finer points for the Griffins on Thursday was the position of Zoe Prystajko’s glove after the Huntington Beach ace walked back toward the pitching circle following a wild pitch that led to a run in the sixth inning.

Weil took advantage of a slight delay to send Gabby Terrones home from third base for an insurance run to punctuate a 5-2 victory against the Oilers in a Sunset League showdown at Los Alamitos High.

The Griffins (13-3, 6-0), ranked third in the county, won behind the pitching of Cari Ferguson, the hitting of Terrones and Cienna Kowaleski and their defense. But Terrones’ steal of home plate with two outs in the sixth typified their mentality against No. 4 Huntington Beach (8-2, 5-1).

Terrones scored moments after teammate Alivia Magallanes successfully raced home from third base on a wild pitch with the bases loaded. Terrones followed before the next pitch as Prystajko, the reigning O.C. player of the year, stood outside the circle.

“I told Gabby when she got to third (base), ‘Hey, if (Prystajko) puts her glove underneath her arm, you’re breaking for the plate,’ ” Weil said. “She did, and Gabby didn’t hesitate, and broke for the plate.

“That’s what this team has been doing all year … doing the little things,” Weil added. “(Prystajko) played for me in travel ball when she was 12, 14 years old so I know a lot of her tendencies.”

“Me and Coach Rob both saw it,” Terrones said of the opening. “We focus on the small details a lot.”

Ferguson (12-3) retired the side in order in the seventh to record one of her biggest victories. The Santa Clara-bound senior retired the final seven batters she faced and finished with six strikeouts and one walk (intentional).

The Griffins supported Ferguson by turning two, inning-ending double plays early in the game.

In the second, Terrones snagged a liner at third base and threw to Kowaleski at first base. The next inning, Ferguson grabbed a comebacker and threw to shortstop Kalie Matsuno at second base to start a 1-6-3 double play.

“I appreciate my defense when they help me out like that,” Ferguson said. “I knew coming into today that is was going to be one biggest games of the season … I’m just glad that I didn’t miss too many pitches.”

Los Alamitos’ left-handed batters executed at the plate against the left-handed Prystajko.

Terrones and Kowaleski collected opposite field hits to left in the second inning before delivering the tying and go-ahead hits in the fourth. Terrones had a double to right to tie the score 2-2 and Kowaleski followed two batters late with a single to center for a 3-2 lead.

“We looked away and we were going to react in,” Weil said of the strategy.

Terrones, Kowaleski and catcher Allyssa Ramos each had two hits for Los Alamitos, which has won eight consecutive games.

Huntington Beach designated player Preslee Brower had a two-out, two-run triple in the fourth inning to give the Oilers a brief 2-1 lead.

Brower finished with two hits while Liah Lummus went 3 for 3 for the Oilers.

Prystajko hit consecutive batters in the sixth that helped load the bases. The Stanford-bound senior finished with nine strikeouts and had a double.

“We’ll be fine,” Huntington Beach coach Jeff Forsberg said. “We just need to split with them. We’ll be all right. (It’s) always hard for us to win here.”

“We had opportunities the first two innings and didn’t score,” he added. “That was the key.”

The teams meet in the second round of league on April 23 at Huntington Beach.

In the Crestview League:

El Modena 5, Esperanza 2: Sara Pinedo had nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings and Kylie Tafua went 3 for 3 as the host Vanguards (12-4, 1-1) overcame two solo home runs by Taylor Shumaker. The Florida-bound senior raised her home run total to 13 and made a catch in the outfield to take away an extra-base hit.

“Best player in the county,” El Modena coach Bobby Calderon said of Shumaker.

Esperanza fell to 8-6, 1-1.

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