Laguna Beach High’s softball team won just eight games last season.
The Breakers do not have a lot of seniors on this year’s roster, but there are several players that have been around long enough to recognize the improvements under second-year coach James Crawford.
In the 2016 season, the Breakers won three games. The year before that, they won one.
All things considered, a .500 record is more than enough to get the Breakers excited.
“That sounds really good,” junior infielder Cienna Wunder said after her team evened its record with its latest game on Wednesday afternoon.
Laguna Beach pounded out 13 hits in a 17-5 victory over visiting Brethren Christian in a nonleague game at Thurston Middle School.
“You look at where this program has come from and where it is now, it’s taken a lot of work and a lot of hours,” Crawford said. “We’ve fought through and we keep fighting. We’re going to keep going until the end.”
Wunder looked sharp at the plate early, going line-to-line in her first at-bat. She nearly had an extra-base hit down the right field line, and she stroked the next pitch inside the bag at third for a double.
Wunder, the Breakers’ regular starting shortstop, went three for four with two runs batted in. She also pitched the final inning, something she said she has been doing when the Breakers are up big.
Wunder had plenty of time to experiment, as she also turned around to the left side of the plate for her last at-bat. She was called out for making contact out of the box.
“I’ve done lefty before,” Wunder said. “I didn’t say that I was good at it. As I showed, I was not very good. I still had fun. I hit the back of my head, but we’re OK and we won. That’s all that matters.”
Junior Lola Fisher had a breakout performance with the bat. She had three hits, including an inside-the-park home run to right-center that drove in two runs.
“It was really nice to be able to do that because I haven’t been hitting well recently,” Fisher said. “It was nice to get out and start hitting well again. It felt good.”
Freshman Rhys Campbell had four hits for the Breakers (3-3). Freshman Natalie Sorensen had two infield singles, and junior Clair Smithers added a pair of RBIs.
The Breakers sent 20 batters to the plate in a 15-run third inning, a chaotic frame that was made possible by Crawford’s insistence that his players learn to bunt.
“My mindset right now is if you’re struggling hitting, you’re going to bunt,” he said. “I think small ball is a big piece of softball. If you know how to play small ball, then you can win some serious games.”
Brethren Christian (0-7) was led by its seniors in the contest. Hill went three for three with a double and three RBIs. Catcher Sydney Warkentin had a pair of run-scoring doubles, and shortstop Britney Cuevas had two hits out of the leadoff spot.
Senior third baseman Jessica Holloway and sophomore right fielder Arianna Rehmann each had one hit for the Warriors.
“Effie, Sydney, Britney, they’re hitting it consistently hard, and they’re our core,” Warriors coach Kevin Allison said. “We’re just hoping that the younger girls will start to see that example and step up.”