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Huntington Beach softball stays hot in rout of Marina

Huntington Beach's Emma Francisco beats the tag from Marina's Zoe King to score during a Surf League softball game.
Huntington Beach’s Emma Francisco beats the tag from Marina’s Zoe King to score in the first inning during a Surf League softball game at Huntington Beach High School on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

If Huntington Beach High School softball coach Jeff Forsberg was asked to summarize this season in one word, the odds are good that word would be “crazy.”

He used the word frequently after the Oilers used a first-inning offensive bludgeoning of Marina to extend their winning streak to five games.

Huntington Beach scored 10 runs in the opening frame, defeating Marina 11-0 on Wednesday in a Surf League game at home.

Emma McCraw and Mikayla Carman each had three runs batted in to lead the Oilers, who had the first eight batters to come to the plate in the bottom of the first inning reach base safely.

The first out of the inning was recorded on a sacrifice fly by Madison Sewell, giving the Oilers a 7-0 lead. Huntington Beach would tack on with a two-run single by Carman and a run-scoring base hit by Jaylene Duarte, the second hit of the inning for both players.

Huntington Beach's Jaylene Duarte, left, high fives Zoe Nakutis after she scored on a single by Mikayla Carman on Wednesday.
Huntington Beach’s Jaylene Duarte, left, high fives Zoe Nakutis after she scored on a single by Mikayla Carman in the first inning during a Surf League softball game against Marina on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“We’ve played 15 games,” Forsberg said. “I think I’ve put everybody in a game like 11 of the 15 games, with 22 kids. It [has been] crazy.

“I mean, that was our eighth shutout. We’ve got two no-hitters and eight shutouts. Isn’t that crazy? And we’ve been pitching everybody.”

Huntington Beach (14-1, 3-0 in the Surf League), ranked fifth in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll, never allowed what was a league showdown on paper to materialize against No. 7 Marina (10-3, 1-2).

Devyn Greer struck out four over four shutout innings to earn the win. An infield base hit by Marina catcher Zoe King was the lone hit allowed by Greer in the contest.

A great defensive play ended the fourth. A well-struck ground ball off the bat of Taylor Lane went off the glove of McKenna Zehnder at third base. Duarte, the Huntington Beach shortstop, showed her range and her arm strength, picking the ball up deep in the hole and firing the ball across the diamond for the out.

Huntington Beach coach Jeff Forsberg high fives Kayla Hayashi after she closed out the fifth inning in a win over Marina.
Huntington Beach head coach Jeff Forsberg high fives Kayla Hayashi after she closed out the fifth inning in a 11-0 win over Marina during a Surf League softball game on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

In the fifth, Marina’s Nyah Veals had a leadoff walk followed by a bunt single by Briana Gonzalez, but Kayla Hayashi retired the next three to preserve the shutout.

McCraw crushed a three-run home run to left field as part of the big inning for Huntington Beach, but even when she is not swinging for the fences, she said the team is finding ways to have fun with singing and dancing in the dugout.

“Today, we sang — it’s from ‘Pitch Perfect’ — ‘Trebles Finals,’” McCraw said. “We all have parts, and we do it a cappella. It’s like really good. We really practice it.”

Another big hit was turned in by Zoe Prystajko, who laced a standup triple inside the right-field line to score a run during the stretch of eight consecutive batters to reach for the Oilers. Sara Crespo also had two hits for Huntington Beach.

Marina's Taylor Lane tags out Huntington Beach's Sara Crespo during a Surf League softball game on Wednesday.
Marina’s Taylor Lane tags out Huntington Beach’s Sara Crespo to close out the second inning during a Surf League softball game on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Carman recently discovered her power swing. Forsberg said she hit a home run for the first time in a practice this year. Carman’s excitement was such that she asked for the batting practice home run ball, Forsberg added, but she now finds herself batting third in the order with six home runs on the season.

“We want to win league,” Carman said. “Now, we’re going all-out. No matter who the team is, we just want to go hard, get a bunch of runs on the board, and win league. Maybe CIF, too.”

Carman’s six home runs are tied for the team lead with Greer, who has been shutting opposing offenses down in the pitching circle. Greer is also hitting out of the leadoff spot for the Oilers.

The duo has been a known commodity since their recreation softball days, going by the name of “Thunder and Lightning.”

“Thunder and Lighting goes back to HBGS,” Greer said. “We played for Huntington Beach Girls’ Softball, 8U All-Star team. We came up. I was Lightning, Mikayla was Thunder, and we just stuck with it for like forever, and we’re just known as that now.”

Huntington Beach's Devyn Greer pitches against Marina during a Surf League softball game Wednesday at Huntington Beach High.
Huntington Beach’s Devyn Greer pitches against Marina during a Surf League softball game at Huntington Beach High on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

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