Griffins warm up for playoffs with two key wins

Photo by Ted Apodaca Callie Fitzpatrick launches a shot for a two-run home run against Pacifica on Friday.

The high school softball season will wrap up this weekend and playoff-bound teams are looking to secure seedings and/or add league championships to their resume before jumping into the CIF-SS brackets. Despite busy league schedules, Los Alamitos and Pacifica High kept a rescheduled date for their friendly rivalry and it was a good warmup for two teams that could see each other again in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.

Los Alamitos went into last week as the No. 1 ranked team in the CIF-SS Division 1 poll and Pacifica was slotted in the No. 7 spot. The game was essentially a pitching and defensive battle, with Los Al getting a two-run home run from junior outfielder Callie Fitzpatrick in the second inning that was the main difference in the game.

The Griffins were able to push across another run in the third, despite not getting a hit. Fitzpatrick nearly drove in another, but her deep shot to right-center field was run down by Michela Meza, who was able to make the catch on a full sprint to end the inning.
Los Alamitos’ No. 1 pitcher, Berkley Vance scattered three hits and had only one walk, while striking out five.

“I liked her control, I liked her getting ahead of batters, she came up with some big pitches in big situations, and our defense played well behind her,” Weil said.

Pacifica coach Tony Arduino said that Vance was hitting the outside edges of the plate with her fastball and when she mixed in an off-speed pitch, the Mariners struggled to adjust.
“She kept us off-balance the entire game, we really didn’t have too many comfortable swings, in my opinion,” Arduino said.

Junior Isabella Rodriguez had drawn a walk prior to Fitzpatrick’s home run and sophomore shortstop Kalie Matsuno followed with a single. But Pacifica junior pitcher Brynne Nally was able to get a strikeout and ground out to end the threat. After the third, the pitching and defense took over the game. Pacifica made two outs at home plate to keep the Griffins from adding runs and Nally was able to set them down in order in the fifth and sixth innings.

The Griffins had a setback last week, with a 3-2 loss to Huntington Beach. They rebounded on Monday with a 5-4 win in eight innings over HB (10-2), meaning the Griffins (9-1) can win the outright Sunset League title with wins over Edison on Tuesday (past press time) and at home against Corona del Mar on Thursday, starting at 3:15 p.m.