A hot start secures the win

One day after suffering a tough, last-inning loss to Costa Mesa, the Laguna Beach softball team bounced back Tuesday to get back into the win column in Orange Coast League play by routing visiting Saddleback, 13-2, at Thurston Middle School.

The Breakers took the lead for good in their first at-bat to improve to 3-2 in league and 8-5 overall.

"You have to teach the kids to have short memories," Laguna Coach Mike Hunter said of his team's ability to rebound from an 8-7 loss against Costa Mesa to handle Saddleback. "This is a very young team, and it's kind of been our mode this year to win one, to lose one, to win one. Along the way, a young team needs to learn how to be consistent."

Laguna's hot start was capped by Ali Lindsay's RBI that ran the score to 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Saddleback got back two runs, both unearned, in the second but Lindsay stretched the Laguna lead again when she drove home three runs with a triple to right field. Taylor Romatowski's sacrifice bunt added another run to push the lead to 7-2.

"Ali had a great week," Hunter said of Lindsay who bats, he said, in the lower-third of the Laguna line-up. "That kid is really starting to develop. She's a great kid with a good attitude and has a real nice swing — if she's pitched to. Pitchers tend to pitch around her sometimes."

In the Laguna-half of the fourth, Kennedi Gherardini, Karina Riess and Bailey Romatowski all singled and Samantha Purl and Haley Putnam both smashed two-run doubles to close out the scoring.

Putnam also got the win and had eight strikeouts. Gherardini closed the game and threw a scoreless fifth.

On Monday, Laguna fell, 8-7, at Costa Mesa after the Mustangs parlayed a triple and walk-off single to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Laguna's offense got the Breakers out to an early 7-3 lead but they weren't able to sustain it, In the first inning, Gherardini delivered an RBI triple and Katie Anderson hit one of her two doubles and drove in a second run for a 2-0 lead. Costa Mesa retaliated with three runs in the bottom of the first to grab a 3-2 lead.

The Breakers regained the advantage in the top of the fourth as Gherardini's double, a bunt by Anderson and RBI single by Bailey Romatowski, preceded a two-run to shallow right field by Lindsay that gave Laguna a 7-3 lead.

Costa Mesa took advantage of two errors and a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth to score twice more and narrow the lead to 7-5. The Mustangs drew even (7-7) by scoring the tying run in the bottom of the fifth.

Laguna threatened to again take the lead in the top of the seventh when Gherardini singled and Anderson doubled, but both were doubled-up on a pop fly, which ended the threat.

Putnam struck out 13 through seven innings. The sophomore scattered five hits for three earned runs.

"The Costa Mesa game was a tough loss," Hunter said. "They put together a couple of hits in the bottom of the seventh to get that winning run, and kudos to them."

The Breakers, who are in second place in the OCL standings, visits league-leader Calvary Chapel on Tuesday and also travel to face Godinez on Thursday. Both league contests start at 3:15 p.m.

"Calvary's a big-time program and the class of the league," Hunter said. "They are very tough to beat."

Hunter said he will start Putnam on Tuesday at Calvary Chapel.

"She's our cannon," he said.

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