The Laguna Beach High softball team heads into spring break on a winning note. On March 31, the Breakers' last game, they defeated La Quinta of Westminster, 9-4, in a nonleague game at Thurston Middle School. The win upped Laguna's record to 9-5.
A key sequence in the game came in the third inning when the Breakers loaded the bases before junior Kennedi Gherardini delivered a three-run double. Senior Samantha Purl went two for two, walked twice and scored two times and freshman Halle Redfearn went two for three and scored twice. Junior Haley Putnam threw a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts in improving to 6-1.
"We hit the ball real well and four of our outs were line drives to the outfield," Laguna Coach Alan Ludloff said. "La Quinta made some nice plays defensively to keep it close. Samantha Purl has been dealing with a bad back all year, but she stepped up, getting on base all four at bats and scoring two runs."
Laguna also played an Orange Coast League game March 29 against Calvary Chapel. The Breakers lost, 6-0, to fall to 1-1 in league. Freshman Jen Sorenson was the only Breaker to reach base twice against Eagles pitcher Melanie Coyne (5-0), who struck out nine.
"Calvary is very strong again this year, but I thought we played them well," Ludloff said. "We gave up three runs on three outfield errors in the second inning, but then made some outstanding defensive plays in the infield to keep it close. Their pitcher was the best we have seen so far, but our team never quit."
The Breakers next play April 17, when they have an OCL game at Godinez. Ludloff said that although his squad has 14 games under its belt, the game with the Grizzlies is a pivotal point in the season for his team.
"The coaches and I are right where we thought we would be at this point," he said. "We beat the teams we should beat, and played hard against the larger schools we played. The key to our season will be the Godinez game. If we win, we are in second place. If we lose, we are in third.
"With spring break the week before and many of the players out of town, we will need to respond quickly to be ready for that game."
Laguna Beach wrapped up play Wednesday at the Anaheim Lions Tournament with an overpowering performance against Sage Hill.
The Breakers' prolific offense led the way in a 20-1 victory over the Lightning. They went 4-1 throughout the tournament.
Wednesday's win also ran Laguna's record to 10-6.
Offensively, sophomore Preston GrandPre went three for five with a double and two runs batted in, junior Robbie McInerny went two for four with a triple and four RBIs, sophomore Steven Harrison went two for two with two doubles and two RBIs and junior Blake Hester went two for two with an RBI and scored three runs.
Sophomore Grant Wilhelm went the distance and picked up his fifth win of the season (5-1) by striking out seven. Sage Hill's only run was unearned.
"We took great at-bats and we were able to get into their pen, which resulted in us earning a bunch of walks, timely hits and a lopsided victory," Laguna Coach Mike Bair said. "Wilhelm pitched great."
Laguna started the tournament Saturday with a doubleheader. The Breakers began the day with an 11-0 victory over Western Christian of Upland. Wilhelm not only picked up the win but also went three for four on offense with three RBIs. Junior Blake Hester went two for three and drove in three runs.
In their second game Saturday, the Breakers fell, 17-4, to Kelso, despite outhitting (11-10) the team from Washington.
Laguna continued tournament play Monday and shut out Fullerton, 5-0. Junior Jackson Rees pitched a complete game and sophomore Steven Harrison went three for four with a home run.
"Jackson Rees competed very well," Bair said. "Timely hits and strong defense gave us a nice win."
Bair said that junior Kurt Rebone gave a "great pitching performance" Tuesday against Buena Park, an effort that helped lead the Breakers to a 3-1 win over the Coyotes. Junior Adam Rodner came up with a clutch two-RBI hit that secured the victory.
Prior to the tournament, Laguna had lost, 3-0, to Saddleback in an Orange Coast League contest March 30. The setback left the defending league-champion Breakers at 3-3 in league.
The Breakers played an OCL game Thursday against Costa Mesa. The score wasn't available at press time. Laguna is idle until April 17, when they return to league play at Estancia.