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Horeczko makes sure Huntington Beach advances

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

CYPRESS - Huntington Beach starting pitcher Alyssa Horeczko plays several roles for her team. As the Oilers’ ace, leadoff hitter and fastest runner, she has many opportunities to showcase her diverse skill set.

In a CIF-SS Division 1 first-round playoff game against Cypress on Thursday, Horeczko put all of her talents on display. The junior tripled and scored the winning run in the top of the seventh inning and threw seven shutout innings during the Oilers’ 1-0 win at Cypress High.

“She’s one of the most dynamic players in Orange County,” Huntington Beach coach Jeff Forsberg said. “We ask a lot of her, to pitch and hit and run, and she finally put it together today. She’d been struggling a little bit, and she did a great job.”

With two outs and nobody on base in the seventh, Horeczko hit a line drive down the right-field line and easily made it to third base. She scored one batter later on Kristina Inouye’s single to center field, then pitched a clean bottom of the seventh to secure the win.

The Oilers (18-8) had 10 hits yet could not come through with a clutch hit until the final inning.

“With this team here, we’ve got nine kids that can hit,” Forsberg said. “It was just a matter of time for us. We were facing a great pitcher, and we knew we were going to have issues (scoring). We’ve struggled in the past couple of weeks, but our kids just wanted it. We were ready to play.”

The Oilers will meet El Modena in a second-round game Tuesday. The site will be determined today.

Huntington Beach faced Cypress (22-7) in the first round of the playoffs last season and lost, 9-5. The Centurions advanced to the semifinals, and Forsberg believes Thursday’s win could spring the Oilers to their own playoff run.

“Coming here, we looked at it as if we had nothing to lose,” Forsberg said. “This is a great group of kids. They’re a dedicated group, and they’re all focused. We’ll go as far as they want to go.”


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