At least nine players are required to field a softball team, and Huntington Beach High currently has just 11 healthy ones.
The Oilers started off their week Tuesday in great fashion, blanking Los Alamitos 7-0 in a Surf League game.
“Since then, we’ve lost four people,” Oilers coach Jeff Forsberg said. “It’s kind of crazy.”
Lauren Cox and Megan Ryono collided going after a pop fly in the sixth inning of Friday’s 6-0 league loss at Marina, and both had to be taken to the hospital. They both missed Huntington Beach’s nonleague game Saturday against visiting Chula Vista Mater Dei Catholic.
Short-handed Huntington Beach, ranked No. 8 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, could not compete against the elite program from the San Diego area. Mater Dei Catholic earned a 13-3 victory.
“We’ve got seven or eight starters out right now,” Forsberg said. “This game didn’t mean anything to us. I mean, they’re a great team, but we just need to get healthy so we can do well in league.”
Forsberg said the Oilers (9-2) hope to get standout senior center fielder Jadelyn Allchin (fractured orbital bone) back on Monday. Ryono could also return on that day.
The Oilers could have used the help against Mater Dei Catholic (10-0), which broke open Saturday’s game by scoring seven runs in the third inning. Alena Ramirez led off with a double to left, and Gigi Gonzalez, Alyssa Garcia and Lexi Sosa all followed with consecutive singles. Kiyra Moody then hit a double to left, and Mater Dei Catholic was off and running.
Crusaders coach Mike Centrullo said he was sympathetic to Huntington Beach’s predicament. Last year, Sosa was injured and missed the playoffs. Mater Dei Catholic lost its first two games in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division playoffs and was eliminated.
Sosa went the whole way at pitcher Saturday for the visitors.
“We have some depth and we’ve been blessed,” Centrullo said. “We started out hot this year. We’re averaging nine runs a game, so we just want to keep hitting … I really respect [Huntington Beach] a lot. It’s about community, it’s about playing with class. That’s why we chose to do another game with them.”
Moody went three for four with the double for Mater Dei Catholic. Sosa had two hits, including a two-run home run, and Garcia was three for three with a double and three runs scored.
Jalyse Hanson also had two hits for the Crusaders, including a double.
Huntington Beach scored two of its runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Devyn Greer had a one-out single, and she was brought home by Malia Cockrell’s double. The Oilers plated another when Reanna Rudd singled to center.
Greer was two for two for Huntington Beach and also reached base via walk and when she was hit by a pitch.
Ameryn Humble, who started the game at third base and doesn’t typically pitch for Huntington Beach, went the final three innings in the circle.
Huntington Beach returns to action Monday with a home Surf League game against Edison.
“We didn’t play very well [Friday] night [against Marina],” Forsberg said. “It was kind of a circus. The way the league is this year, you play everybody three times, so hopefully we’ll be healthy when we get everybody again.”