Playoff berth almost at hand

The Breakers took a step toward a possible CIF Southern Section playoff berth Tuesday by defeating Godinez, 3-2. They can wrap up a playoff berth with another win Friday at Godinez.

A trio of sophomores figured prominently in Tuesday's win. Steven Harrison went two for two and came up with the game-winning hit, Preston GrandPre had a pair of doubles and scored once and Grant Wilhelm threw a complete game with seven strikeouts. Wilhelm (7-2) also contributed a hit and run scored to the Laguna offense.

The victory put the Breakers at 14-8 and 7-5 in league, good for third place.

"Wilhelm pitched excellent, we played great team defense and had clutch hits when we needed to," Breakers Coach Mike Bair said.

Laguna was able to bounce back from a tough loss April 27 to Calvary Chapel. The Eagles scored the winning run on a balk in the bottom of the seventh inning to emerge with a 2-1 win.

Junior Jackson Rees started and junior Kurt Rebone finished on the mound for the Breakers.

"Rees pitched awesome," Bair said. "We had multiple chances to drive in runs but could not come up with the clutch hit."

Bair said Rees (3-4) will start Friday's key game at Godinez.

"We are a confident team and know we can play better than we have shown," Bair said. "Our goal (Friday) is to finish league strong with all cylinders firing, secure a playoff spot and gain some momentum for CIF."

Laguna closes out league and regular-season play next week. The Breakers host Saddleback at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, then travel Thursday to face the Roadrunners again at 3:15 p.m.



The Breakers also stayed in the postseason hunt after splitting its last two Orange Coast League games.

Laguna on Tuesday fell, 10-5, to visiting Calvary Chapel at Thurston Middle School. Haley Putnam hit a bases-loaded triple in the seventh inning that scored three runs. The junior earlier had doubled and finished three for four.

Tuesday's setback put Laguna at 12-7 an in third place in league at 4-3. Despite the loss, the Breakers showed their character by fighting back from an 8-0 deficit after three innings.

"In the past, we might have thought the game was over," Laguna Coach Alan Ludloff said. "We outscored them, 5-2, in the last four innings and never gave up. Defensively, we had some errors in the infield, but we also made some good plays."

Laguna previously had scored a 13-2 win over Estancia on April 27. Halle Redfearn, a freshman hitting in the leadoff spot, went three for three and scored three runs, Putnam went three for four with four RBIs and scored twice, junior Kennedi Gherardini went two for three with a triple and four RBIs, and Katyn Ott, a freshman, went two for three and scored twice.

Putnam was in command in the circle and struck out eight while allowing just one hit. Both runs for the Eagles were unearned.

Laguna will need every bit of its offense Friday when it hosts Godinez at 3:30 p.m. at Thurston. Ludloff plans to start Putnam (7-3) against the Grizzlies.

"Last time we played them, we looked rusty coming off of spring break," Ludloff said of Laguna's first game in more than two weeks, a 13-3 loss April 17 at Godinez. "We are playing really well right now and want to continue that on Friday. A win gets us a tie for second place going into our last two games. I told the girls if we make the routine plays on defense, our bats will get us the win."

The Breakers play their final two league games next week, starting with a 3:15 p.m. game Tuesday at Costa Mesa. They close out regular season play Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. home game against Saddleback at Thurston.

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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