Los Alamitos High softball pitcher Berkley Vance wasn’t perfect in the opening playoff game for the Griffins, but she was close. Vance and the Griffins advanced to the second round with a 3-1 win over Mission Viejo on Monday in a game that was postponed due to recent rains.
Mission Viejo pitcher Sofia Elliot led off the game with a deep bomb to center field that gave the Diablos a quick 1-0 lead, but it would not last. And Elliot was the only one who was able to handle Vance, who followed the opening shot by retiring the next 12 Diablos in order. She struck out eight of the 12 batters in the stretch.
Meanwhile, the Griffin offense wasted no time in responding to the early 1-0 deficit. In the bottom of the first, senior outfielder Julie Holcomb led off with a single and senior third baseman Giselle Alvarez followed with another single that advanced Holcomb to third base.
Mission Viejo made a throw to third, but Holcomb beat it. Alvarez took second and when a throw back to second was bobbled, Holcomb was able to race home to tie the game at 1-1, with Alvarez taking third.
Alvarez would late score on a groundout to second to give the Griffins a 2-1 lead after one inning. Elliot would also settle in after the first and keep the Griffins off the scoreboard for the next four innings. She set the Griffins down in order in the second and got some defensive help when they caught a runner trying to steal in the third.
Junior catcher Allyssa Ramos led off the fourth with a single for the Griffins, but was stranded after a sacrifice bunt and a grounder and soft liner to first base. Mission Viejo’s best chance came in the sixth, when Elliot lined a double to the left-center gap for a one-out single. After a strikeout, the Diablos drew a walk but stranded the two runners with a pop up to third.
Junior Gabby Terrones led off the sixth with a solo home run that gave the Griffins a 3-1 lead and more than enough cushion as Vance set the Diablos down in order in the seventh, including two more strikeouts to end the game.
The Griffins were scheduled to play at Pacifica in the second round on Tuesday (after ENE press deadline).