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Los Alamitos makes strong statement with title-clinching win

STAFF WRTIER

For the first time seemingly all season, Los Alamitos is healthy.

The Griffins also appear to be peaking with their “A” lineup in place and the start of the CIF-SS softball playoffs only a week away.

Second-ranked Los Alamitos captured the Sunset League title in style Tuesday afternoon, easing past No. 5 Huntington Beach, 7-0, to secure its second straight league crown at Los Alamitos High.

“Like I told the girls before the game, ‘These are the types of games where the stars show up,’” Griffins coach Rob Weil said. “And our stars showed up today. (Mary) Iakopo getting that double down the line, throwing a couple kids out at second. (Caitlin) Ladd getting a key hit. And Ryan (Denhart) stepping it up (in the pitching circle).”

It was only three weeks ago Denhart and fellow teammate Cami Sellers watched from the dugout as Los Alamitos (22-2, 8-1) dropped its only league game of the season at Huntington Beach (20-5, 6-3). Denhart was recovering from a bruised forearm, while Sellers had a broken bone in her hand.

Back on the field Tuesday, both players were instrumental in securing the league championship. Denhart tossed a five-hit shutout, and with some help from Iakopo behind the plate, allowed only one Oilers base runner to reach second.

Sellers drove in the game’s first run, skying an RBI double to the center field fence to put Los Alamitos ahead 1-0 in the first.

The Griffins loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning, and scored its second run on Andrea Gonzalez’s ground out to short. Iakopo laced a double down the first-base line, driving in two runs, and Ladd’s two-out single to right field brought home two more runners to make it 6-0.

“I wouldn’t want to face it,” Weil said of his lineup. “Up and down the lineup – one through nine – it’s pretty solid. Who do you pick to pitch to?

“We’re starting to get healthy and our kids are peaking at the right time. The team chemistry and comradery is right where you want it to be heading into playoffs.”

In the Trinity League:

No. 1 Orange Lutheran 6, No. 8 Santa Margarita 0: The Lancers (26-3, 8-0) put an exclamation mark on their perfect league campaign with a shutout victory over the Eagles (16-10, 4-4). Seniors Amelia Van Orman and Mackenzie Boesel each homered, and junior first baseman Noelle Hee added a pair of RBI singles.

Rosary 9, JSerra 0: Royals senior Mady Christensen set a school record for RBI in a season, knocking in her 33rd and 34th runs of the year in a win over the Lions. Rosary (18-7-1, 3-4) can force a three-way tie for second place in league with a win against Mater Dei (21-6, 4-3) on Wednesday.

In the Empire League:

No. 6 Pacifica 12, Western 0: The Mariners (18-4, 9-0) scored eight runs in the second inning and cruised past the Pioneers (3-17, 0-9) to lock up the league title. Junior Hannah Martinez was 2 for 2 with four RBI.

Cypress 5, Valencia 1: Jenelle Martinez finished with three hits and three RBI, Brianna Gargano doubled twice and Jessica Martinez added a pair of hits as the Centurions (18-8, 7-2) topped the host Tigers (9-16-2, 1-8).

In the Pacific Coast League:

Woodbridge 6, Beckman 3: Hannah Sasaki, Joanna Michaels and Kaitlyn Lim accounted for seven hits for the Warriors (14-12, 7-2), who can lock up the league’s No. 2 spot in the postseason with a win against University (9-15, 2-7) on Thursday.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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