The championship game of the Laguna Hills Tournament turned into an all-Sunset League affair between to neighboring softball rivals and in the first meeting of the season between the teams, ended with the score favoring Marina.
The Vikings captured the tourney title March 13 by defeating Huntington Beach, 5-2, at Alicia Park in Mission Viejo. Senior pitcher Tera Blanco was named MVP of the tournament and junior Emili Olague and senior Desiree Hagberg made the all-tournament team.
"We played nervous in the finals and from that I think, the girls realize they need to relax, play pitch to pitch and be in the 'now' of the game," Marina Coach Shelly Luth said. "Focus is our agenda."
Huntington senior Sammie Vandiver was named Offensive Player of the tournament, and senior teammate Micaela Vierra was named all-tournament.
Marina, the No. 4- ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 1, started this week with a 2-0 victory Tuesday over visiting El Toro. Blanco (5-0) struck out nine and walked one, and Hagberg and junior Sydney McCollum both doubles as the Vikings improved to 6-0.
Marina currently is competing at the TNT Torrance Tournament, which runs through Saturday.
Marina and Huntington will face each other twice during the upcoming Sunset League season. The teams first meet April 22 at Marina.
Sophomore Anna Kufta racked up three hits including a towering home run and drove in seven runs Tuesday as Huntington downed Foothill, 9-4, in nonleague action. Her home run allowed the Oilers to pull away from the Knights.
Fellow sophomore Alyssa Horeczko threw 2 1/3 innings in relief of winner Vierra and registered for her first save. Horeczko and senior Sammie Vandiver each had two hits and sophomore Jasmine Melgoza's clutch catch in the fifth inning stopped a Foothill rally.
The Huntington softball program, playing its home opener Tuesday, recognized Oilers football coach Eric Lo and senior quarterback Kai Ross, who helped guide the football team to the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division football championship in late-November, Coach Jeff Forsberg said.
The Oilers, ranked No. 8 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, improved to 9-2 overall.
Forsberg said the program is off to its best start in 23 years.
"We have been playing a lot over the last couple weeks and the team is really believing in each other as a new player continues to step up at critical times," Forsberg said. "Our balance and playing our system is something we pride ourselves on and both keep us getting better, game to game."
The Oilers also are competing at the Northwood Tournament and have reached the semifinal round. In a game against Dana Hills, Horeczko and senior Vierra (Santa Clara commit) combined on a four-hitter in a 5-2 win over the Dolphins. Freshman Ivy Davis (Arizona commit) had two hits and two RBIs to lead the offense.
In a second tournament game, Vierra pitched a no-hitter with five strikeouts and sophomore Kristina Inouye (Cal commit) hit two home runs (three RBIs), finished four for six with four runs batted in, in a 7-0 blanking of Capistrano valley.
The Oilers face Beaumont in Saturday's tourney semifinals at 4 p.m. at Bill Barber Field in Irvine.
•Fountain Valley on Tuesday cruised to a 14-0 shutout of visiting Laguna Beach in nonleague play. The Barons sent 15 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third inning where they broke the game open. They scored 11 runs in their third at-bat, punctuated by a crushing grand slam deep beyond the fence in left field by Kelli Tatum. The senior's big hit put the lead at 14-0.
Tatum's RBI double earlier in the inning scored senior Victoria Ellard whose RBI double drove in freshman Taylor Golden to start the 11-run outburst.