Zoe Prystajko fans 12 as Huntington Beach softball wins league series against Fountain Valley

The Huntington Beach softball team congratulates teammate Tea Gutierrez (45) after she hit a home run.
The Huntington Beach softball team awaits teammate Tea Gutierrez (45) at home plate after she hit a home run against Fountain Valley on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

For many teams looking to take to the diamond this spring, the rain has upended their rhythm.

The Huntington Beach High softball team is singing a different tune. The Oilers had gone more than two weeks without playing a game since finishing the Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City (Ariz.).

No matter.

Zoe Prystajko struck out a dozen batters in a four-hit shutout, as Huntington Beach defeated Fountain Valley 6-0 at home.

Pitcher Zoe Prystajko of Huntington Beach readies to throw against Fountain Valley on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach coach Jeff Forsberg said this year’s team has been together since May. He intimated that he thought his players were joking when they asked to practice the day following their extra-inning defeat to Whittier La Serna to open the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs last season.

Emma Francisco and Carter Mello, now seniors, took it upon themselves to organize the postseason workouts.

“They arranged it, and we’ve been together, and we practiced in May, we practiced in June, school ended, we did it in July, we did it in August,” Forsberg said. “We came back here in September. Now that I look back at it, it’s great because we have all this rain and everyone is missing time, and we’ve been together forever it seems like.”

Sophia Knight of Huntington Beach hits a two-run single off the center field wall against Fountain Valley on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach (7-3, 3-1 in the Sunset League) certainly has grown accustomed to having Sophia Knight atop the lineup and Prystajko in the circle in recent years. Both factored heavily into Tuesday’s game, which saw the Oilers complete a league sweep of Fountain Valley (6-8, 1-4).

Knight tracked a deep fly ball off the bat of Makenzie Butt at the wall in center to end the top of the first.

It gave the Oilers the chance to strike first, which they did with a two-out, two-run home run from sophomore first baseman Tea Gutierrez.

Macy Fuller (27) of Huntington Beach runs to first base against Fountain Valley on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“It felt amazing,” Gutierrez said of the home run to straight-away center field. “It was awesome. We played that pitcher [Courtney Kols] before, so I knew what she was throwing. She seemed a little bit faster, but I think it’s good when we communicate each at-bat to each other, and it helps us with our at-bats in the game.”

In the second inning, Knight missed a grand slam by a couple feet, a line drive hitting off the top of the wall in right-center field to drive in two runs. The Oilers’ lead would grow to 5-0 on a sacrifice-fly from Morgan Drotter.

Ashley Long added a run-scoring fly ball in the fifth, scoring courtesy runner Cali Bennett for the game’s final run.

Fountain Valley's Veronica Moore (99) hits a double in a Sunset League softball game against Huntington Beach on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Prystajko, who threw an abbreviated five-inning no-hitter in a 13-0 win over the Barons on March 3, recorded a double-digit strikeout total for the third time in six starts this season. She has committed to Stanford.

Veronica Moore had a double for the Barons, while Delaney Mondino, Kileigh Villalobos and Andrea Maldonado each had a single.

Fountain Valley won the Wave League and earned the top seed for the Division 5 playoffs last season. The Surf and Wave leagues were consolidated into a seven-team Sunset League with Laguna Beach not fielding a varsity team, changing the playoff-qualifying equation.

Fountain Valley infielder Marissa Sardinas (7) turns a hard-hit ball into an out against Huntington Beach on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The top four teams in the Sunset League will earn automatic bids for the CIF playoffs. Injuries have hampered the Barons to this point, Fountain Valley coach Rick Aldrich said, but key pieces from the Barons’ run to the semifinals last season — namely corner infielders Moore and Butt — have returned.

“I like our chances against Edison,” Aldrich said. “We’ve always said from the time they made this league that it was going to come down to us and Edison. Whoever can win those two games, or even if we split, got to beat somebody else.”

A rainout last week saw Edison and Fountain Valley schedule a home-and-home set to be played on April 20 and 22.

Fountain Valley's Kileigh Villalobos (15) hits a single against Huntington Beach on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Support our sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.

For more sports stories, visit or follow us on Twitter @DailyPilotSport.