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SAM GANGWER, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Los Alamitos' Jenna Holcomb is tagged out at the plate by Huntington Beach catcher Anna Kufta during a Sunset League game Thursday at Huntington Beach High.

Huntington Beach defense stars in win over Los Alamitos

STAFF WRITER

HUNTINGTON BEACH There were a handful of highlight-worthy stabs, but for the most part, Huntington Beach’s defensive performance was so fundamentally crisp that it impressed both team’s coaches.

Working against one of the county’s most talented lineups, pitcher Ivy Davis tossed a two-hitter and used a flawless defensive showing from her teammates to lead No. 6 Huntington Beach past No. 2 Los Alamitos, 3-2, in a Sunset League showdown Thursday night at Huntington Beach High.

Two days after a loss to Edison, the Oilers (17-2, 3-1) earned a critical head-to-head result over the Griffins (17-2, 3-1) and gained a share of the league lead.

“Our seniors really stepped up,” Huntington Beach coach Jeff Forsberg said. “Anna Kufta is amazing behind the plate for us, Kristina (Inouye) at short had a really good game. Allee Bunker is a sophomore at third, but she saved us a couple times.

“And Ivy is our second baseman who’s becoming a pitcher. Pitching kind of runs in her family, so she gets it.”

Davis surrendered runs in the first and second. She hit Lindsi Dennis with the bases loaded in the first before seeing Caitlin Ladd hit a solo shot in the second put the Griffins up, 2-0.

“They came to play and they’ve got some high-profile kids on that side of the field too, and they were amped up,” Los Al coach Rob Weil said. “Ivy is a gamer. She plays on my travel team too. She kept us off-balance, kept the ball down, made us hit the ball on the ground and they made the plays.”

The Oilers tied the score in the bottom half of the second with RBI singles from Inouye and Jadelyn Allchin, re-energizing Davis and teammates when they trotted back out onto the field.

Los Al appeared poised to reclaim the lead in the third when Ariana Belarde and Mary Iakopo reached second and third to start the inning with no outs. Three consecutive ground balls kept the Griffins off the scoreboard.

From the fourth inning on, Davis faced the minimum number of Los Al batters (12), and did not surrender a base hit. The Oilers turned double plays in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, and used a diving stop by Bunker to get out of the fifth.

No Griffins base runner reached second during that stretch.

Huntington Beach scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. The Oilers loaded the bases with one out and scored on Kufta’s fielder’s choice.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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