Huntington Beach softball dealt first Sunset League loss by Los Alamitos

Huntington Beach's Macy Fuller (27) gets Los Alamitos' Allyssa Ramos (12) out at second in a Sunset League game Thursday.
Huntington Beach’s Macy Fuller (27) gets Los Alamitos’ Allyssa Ramos (12) out at second in a Sunset League game at Los Alamitos High on Thursday.
(James Carbone)

A pair of familiar foes did battle on the diamond Thursday afternoon, the stakes as they tend to be when the softball powerhouses collide in a Sunset League clash.

Los Alamitos showed just how well it has gotten to know Zoe Prystajko, doing what few have been able to do in causing problems for Huntington Beach’s hard-throwing, left-handed ace.

The Griffins pushed two runs across in the fourth and sixth innings, leading to a 5-2 win for Los Alamitos over visiting Huntington Beach in their first meeting of the season.


Huntington Beach (8-2, 5-1), which entered the week at No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll, will play host to eighth-ranked Los Alamitos (13-3, 6-0) in the season finale on April 23.

Huntington Beach's Zoe Prystajko (44) pitches against Los Alamitos in a Sunset League game on Thursday.
(James Carbone)

Catcher Allyssa Ramos led off each of the multi-run innings for Los Alamitos, supplying a double in the fourth and a single in the sixth. Further down the lineup, third baseman Gabby Terrones and first baseman Cienna Kowaleski — both left-handed batters — each had two hits and combined for three runs batted in.

“We knew we needed to get ahead in this game and start early and get the upper hand in league,” Terrones said. “This is a big game for us.”

Terrones singled before being lifted for pinch runner Cameron Gill in the second. Kalie Matsuno moved Gill to third with a fly out to right, Kowaleski took advantage of a pitch in the strike zone with an opposite-field hit for the game’s initial run.

Huntington Beach jumped in front in the top of the fourth. Ashley Long drove a double to left field. An intentional walk was issued to Prystajko, who had doubled in her prior at-bat. With two outs, Preslee Brower tripled to the gap in right-center field, giving the Oilers a 2-1 lead.

Huntington Beach's Preslee Brower (29) yells out to her teammates after hitting a triple against Los Alamitos on Thursday.
(James Carbone)

In the bottom half of the inning, Terrones doubled and Kowaleski singled, each of the one-out hits driving in a run to put the Griffins back in front.

Prystajko struck out Morgan Fitzpatrick, then was the beneficiary of a phenomenal play by her battery mate. Catcher Emma Johnson caught the ricochet of a pitch that had gone to the backstop, breaking back to the plate in time to tag out the advancing runner.

Huntington Beach coach Jeff Forsberg said the team was in need of a catcher who could handle Prystajko. He indicated that Johnson, a late addition to the varsity team, has saved the day.

“I learned that I should be fired as a player personnel [evaluator] because I always thought that I knew talent,” Forsberg joked. “She was going to play JV the whole year. She, in my opinion, next to Ramos, is the best catcher in this league. She is legit. She’s thrown five kids out.”

Huntington Beach's softball team cheers as Ashley Long (3) runs in to score on Preslee Brower's triple against Los Alamitos.
(James Carbone)

The Oilers would not be so fortunate with runners in scoring position in the sixth. A wild pitch brought in a run, and the Griffins stole another run when Terrones broke for home with Prystajko walking back to the circle.

“I told Gabby when she got to third, ‘Hey, if [Prystajko] puts her glove underneath her arm, you’re breaking for the plate,’” Los Alamitos coach Rob Weil said. “She takes her [protective face] mask off and takes her glove and puts it underneath her arm. The catcher wasn’t paying attention. I was watching the entire game. She did it, and Gabby didn’t hesitate and broke for the plate.”

Prystajko had nine strikeouts over six innings. All five runs against her were earned.

Liah Lummus had three hits for the Oilers, and Brower had two hits.

Cari Ferguson allowed two earned runs on eight hits while striking out seven in a complete game for Los Alamitos.

Huntington Beach's Liah Lummus (22) runs out to center field to make a catch against Los Alamitos on Thursday.
(James Carbone)