When the Ocean View softball team dropped an early Golden West League showdown at home to Segerstrom in early April, it forced the Seahawks to immediately play catch-up in the chase for the 2013 league crown.
That 5-0 loss on April 11 put Ocean View and Segerstrom one game behind Loara, which, in a league opener two days earlier, had edged Segerstrom, 1-0. That win gave Loara early confidence, and early league lead, as they took a 4-0 record into the final game of the first half of league play.
It was there, on April 24, that they met Ocean View. The Seahawks gained a game back in the league standings and moved into a three-way tie for first place by handing Loara a 4-0 shutout loss.
On Friday, it became a two-team tie at the top when Ocean View dominated Santa Ana, 11-1, and Segerstrom edged Loara, 6-5. Those outcomes set up another showdown this week between Ocean View and Segerstrom. The teams met Wednesday at Segerstrom. The score wasn't available at press time.
When Ocean View went to Loara on April 24, the Saxons were ranked No. 2, the Seahawks No. 4 and one spot behind Segerstrom, in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 poll.
"There was no way Brittany was going to let Loara beat us," Ocean View Coach Mike McLaughlan said of his senior ace, Brittany Hitchcock, who tamed the Saxons.
Hitchcock threw a one-hit shutout. She struck out eight and aided her pitching performance with two hits including a big-time swing at the plate in the top of the third inning, a two-run home run.
Her blast extended Ocean View's lead to 3-0.
Hitchcock was one of three Seahawks to hit home runs in the game as Olivia Russ and Billi Derlerth each hit solo homers and each finished with two hits.
Ocean View, which rose to No. 3 this week in the Division 4 rankings, improved to 5-1 in league and 17-3 overall by handling Santa Ana, 11-1, Friday. They received another pitching gem, this time, from freshman Alyssa Slater, who started her first varsity game. She gave up a hit in the first inning but didn't allow another the rest of the way. Slater retired the next 15 batters she faced and went on to register eight strikeouts.
The Seahawks offense got off to somewhat of a slow start, scoring two runs after three innings. They put the game away by scoring nine runs in their final three at-bats. Hitchcock again homered and also singled, and Erika Jason doubled twice and drove in three runs, to lead the offense.
The Sunset League softball race tightened in the past week as two teams, Marina and Edison, were co-occupants of the top spot after April 25 action.
Marina (20-3, 5-1 in league) fell from sole possession of first place when it lost, 2-0, at Los Alamitos. Bella Secaira had two hits for the Vikings who out-hit the Griffins, 5-4.
Edison (16-8, 5-1), whose only league loss came on April 16 to Marina, moved into a first-place tie by taking care of visiting Newport Harbor, 19-2. Ali Wester went four for four and Sammy Cordova recorded the pitching win to run her record to 6-4.
Huntington Beach squared its Sunset record at 3-3 and the Oilers went to 13-10 overall by blanking visiting Fountain Valley (1-5 league), 10-0. Kristina Inouye homered and Micaela Vierra got the pitching win for the Oilers.
Scores from the Huntington-Marina, Edison-Los Alamitos and Newport Harbor-Fountain Valley Sunset League games played Tuesday weren't available at press time.
In Sunset games at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Edison takes on Marina for the league lead, Fountain Valley plays host to Los Alamitos, and Huntington goes to Newport Harbor. On Tuesday, Edison travels to Fountain Valley and Marina is at Newport Harbor for 3:15 p.m. games, and Huntington plays host to Los Alamitos at 6 p.m.
Ocean View travels for a 3:15 p.m. Golden West League game Friday at Westminster. The Seahawks play host to Orange at 3:15 p.m. on Monday.