Griffins hit wall against top-ranked Oilers

The Los Alamitos High baseball team had been on a roll heading into a showdown with top-ranked, and defending CIF-SS Division 1 champion, Huntington Beach. The Oilers grabbed a first inning lead, while the Griffins lost starting center fielder Jack Keller at the same time.The Oilers would eventually hang on for a 4-2 win in the Sunset League game at Los Alamitos High. Despite the loss, the Griffins remained locked in a three-way tie for first place in the league race at 2-1, tied with Huntington Beach and Edison.And with a lot of games left in the league chase, Head Coach Matt Nuez likes his team’s chances. With three meetings with each league foe, plus a host of non-league games scheduled in between, Nuez said his team is focused on the season as a marathon and looking to grind out wins one at a time.“I will definitely take our chances grinding it out with anyone,” Nuez said. Against the Oilers, the Griffins fell behind in the first inning when Hagen Danner drilled a two-run home run to center field. Keller collided with the wall trying to get to the ball and left the game with an ankle injury. Nuez called Keller the heart and soul of the defense and said his play keeps opponent runs off the board.He said the injury took some of the wind out of the team, but they eventually settled down and keep the game close. Huntington Beach eventually took a 3-0 lead, but the Griffins cut into the lead in the bottom of the third.Junior Mike Townsend reached on a walk and moved to third on a single by Brett Corwin. He would score on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Agnew. The Oilers added a run in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 4-1. In the fifth inning, Townsend lined a one-out shot to right field for a solo home run that cut the lead to 4-2.But the Griffins could only muster another single and a walk from then. Oiler pitcher Nick Pratto pitched a complete game in his debut for Huntington Beach, after transferring from Mater Dei. Los Alamitos starter Kyle Mora scattered seven hits in six innings and allowed just two earned runs. Townsend pitched the seventh and set the Oilers down in order, with a strikeout and two ground balls.It was a solid defensive game for the Griffins. “We pride ourselves on throwing strikes and playing catch and I think we did a great job of that today,” Nuez said. The Griffins offense struggled against Marina starter Riley Ohl, in a 5-0 loss in a league game on Friday. Ohl pitched a complete-game, allowing just three hits and striking out eight.Griffin Hennessy was 2 for 3 with two doubles and a run to lead the Viking offense. Joseph Waked was also 2 for 3, with a double and RBI. Kyle Rice was 3 for 3 for the Griffins. The Griffins will host Edison today (April 13) at 3:15 p.m. and will play at Edison on Friday, also at 3:15 p.m.Marina will play at Huntington Beach on Friday and will be at Edison on April 20. Both games will be at 3:15 p.m.

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