Softball: Oilers clinch title

There was reason to celebrate Tuesday for the Huntington Beach High softball team: for the first time since 1996, the program has a Sunset League championship.

Well, a portion of it, anyway.

Huntington clinched a tie for its first league title in 18 years by emerging with a 7-6 victory over Edison in a wild, see-saw battle at Huntington that included seven lead changes. Anna Kufta's double scored Alyssa Horeczko and Kristina Inouye both who singled to start the bottom of the seventh.

Horeczko had two hits and the Orange County leader in stolen bases increased her number to 31 with a stolen base. The sophomore also pitched 2/3 of an inning without allowing a run, and got the win. Inouye had two hits and Ivy Davis had two hits including a two-run double and two RBIs.

Oilers Coach Jeff Forsberg said that Huntington, now at 20-4 with one regular season game to play, possesses the best season record in program history.

The Oilers are 8-1 in league heading into Thursday's regular-season finale, and hold a one-game edge on second-place Marina.

Edison had scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-4 lead before Huntington's final rally.

"We handled the stress well tonight," Forsberg said. "Losing a heartbreaker to Marina last week would knock a team down but this team is unlike any other. We were down again after being up but we had the right game competitors up in the seventh [inning] with Horeczko, Inouye and Kufta. All three delivered as they have done all year.

"Getting a share of a league title is not only awesome for our current players and staff but all the players in the past that have helped shape the team. I applaud all of them. But we know that we have more work and challenges ahead. We hope to continue to ride this wave out as far as it goes."

Marina ran its win streak to six games Tuesday by scoring a 6-2 win at Fountain Valley. Keala Cordeiro went two for three with a double, Desiree Hagberg doubled twice, Alyssa Sojka went two four three, and Tera Blanco doubled for the Vikings, the sixth-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 1 who are 21-6 overall and 7-2 in league.

Blanco also threw a complete game, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out six in running her record to 20-4.

In a key, previous Sunset game, Marina prevented Huntington from clinching the Sunset title May 8 by scoring four runs in the top of the sixth inning to overcome a one-run deficit and pull out a 5-2 road win. Cordeiro and Ryan King both went two for three and Emma Walker doubled for the Vikings. Blanco threw a five-hitter in another complete-game victory.

Alyssa Horeczko and Kristina Inouye both went two for three for Huntington.

Sunset League teams complete regular-season play Thursday. Games at 3:15 p.m. include Huntington at Los Alamitos, Newport Harbor at Marina and Fountain Valley at Edison.

Ocean View shut out consecutive Golden West League opponents including an 8-0 victory Monday over visiting Westminster. Billi Derleth pitched a complete-game shutout allowing only three hits with six strikeouts to notch win No. 11 on the season.

The Seahawks, the No. 7 team in CIF Southern Section Division 4, pounded out 14 hits led by Tobi Salzman and Jade Bustamonte with three hits apiece. Emily Long, Anika Ortiz and Madison Garcia each had two hits.

Ocean View Coach Mike McLaughlan said seniors Salzman, Long and Madison Garcia, "went out in style" in their final regular-season home game by combining for seven hits and four RBIs.

The Seahawks, second to Loara in the GWL standings, improved to 6-3 in league and 18-6 overall.

Derleth allowed only one hit and Bustamonte had two hits and drove in three runs in Ocean View's previous outing, a 3-0 home win over Segerstrom Friday.

The Seahawks closed out their regular season Wednesday at Orange. The result from their league game wasn't available at press time.

The CIF Southern Section softball playoff pairings will be released Saturday. Division wild-card games are at 3:15 p.m. Monday, and first-round games are at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

CIF Weekly Rankings

Huntington Beach (No. 5, Division 1); Marina (No. 6, Division 1); Ocean View (No. 7, Division 4).

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