Griffins roll into break with scrappy win over Cypress

After a grueling early tournament schedule, the Los Alamitos had one last tough challenge before heading into a spring break and needed rest before the Carew Classic Tournament in April. The Griffins hosted Cypress, in a matchup of two top 10 teams in the CIF-SS Division 1 rankings. Los Alamitos was ranked No. 2 in the division, with Cypress at No. 6, the two highest ranked Orange County teams. As expected, defense was the anchor for both team, but it was the Griffins who were able to plate single runs in the late innings to take a 3-1 win over the Centurions. Earlier in the week, the Griffins had held off Gahr High, the No. 3 ranked team in Division 3, so Griffin coach Rob Weil was certainly pleased his team was able to grab two more quality wins, as they head into a break. “We came out this week against two quality teams and took care of business,” Weil said. Weil admitted that pitcher Ryan Denhart didn’t quite have her A-Game, but she was pretty good. She pitched six innings, with just four hits allowed, one run and seven strikeouts. She improved her record to 10-0 with the win. After the Griffins took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth, the Centurions were able to cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the sixth. Senior outfielder Marissa Wightman drew a walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, when she beat out a throw to second on a bunt by senior shortstop Paige Hallam. Denhart was able to get a pop up and a strikeout to get two outs, but Maddy Byrd was able to single up the middle to drive in Wightman for Cypress’ run. Los Alamitos threatened in the bottom of the sixth, but the Centurion defense held. In the fourth inning, the Griffins had the bases loaded but Hallam made a lunging grab of a liner towards left, that ended the threat. Paige Austin came on to pitch for the Griffins in the top of the seventh and set the side down in order to end the game. The Griffins were led by senior shortstop Mary Iakopo, who was 2 for 3 with a double, triple and RBI. Andrea Gonzalez had a hit and RBI. Ariana Belarde, Caitlin Ladd and Jade Loe each scored a run for the Griffins. For the Centurions, Byrd was 2 for 2 with the RBI and Wightman had a single and a run scored. Pitcher Olivia McWhorter was steady, as was the defense behind her. She went six innings, scattering six hits with three strikeouts. While disappointed with the loss, Cypress coach Kevin Dull was also encouraged by the team’s effort, given the quality of team and pitcher they were facing. “The fact that our girls hung in there and were able to keep in competitive, I’m real proud of them,” Dull said. The Griffins improved to 12-1 with the win. Cypress opened the season 6-0 before hitting some bumps. They were 8-4 after the Los Alamitos game, but are looking like they will be a tough team to beat in the division. The Griffins won the Sunset League last year, while the Centurions took second in the Empire League, behind Pacifica, which was the No. 2 team in the rankings at the end of last year. Both Cypress and Los Alamitos will participate in the Carew Classic. Los Alamitos will open against El Toro on April 6, while Cypress will open against Lakewood, also on April 6.

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