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WESTLAKE VILLAGE — Oaks Christian softball felt slightly unsure heading into Tuesday’s CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinal game against Orange Lutheran. Not much was known about the Lancers, which the Lions had only played once before in 2017.
Ilove’a Brittingham said she was feeling nervous until she hit a wall — literally. Brittingham made a catch for the final out in left field as she slammed against the wall before Oaks Christian went on to score six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning for a 7-2 win.
The Lions (28-1-1) move on to play at Pacifica of Garden Grove in the semifinals on Thursday at 3:15.
“Yesterday at practice I was like, they are looking good,” Oaks coach Cheyenne Coyle said. “They’re swinging the bat well, our pitchers are putting work in. If they can keep their bats hot, good things are out there.”
Oaks Christian pitcher Emelia Davis threw a complete game and gave up two hits. Rylee McCoy went 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI single, while Brittingham was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI.
“She brings a lot of dominance,” Brittingham said of Davis. “We like to call her Big Daddy. When she comes in, her presence gets us going.”
McCoy got the Lions on the board in the first inning with a solo home run that went over the left field fence. Orange Lutheran’s Cate Medvitz tied the game with a solo homer of her own in the top of the fourth inning.
Brittingham made her catch with a collision to get out of the inning, then hit a two-run homer as the second hitter in the bottom of the fourth.
“She is always going to give you 100% effort,” Coyle said. “In the first round she dove and missed (a catch) and I was like, I don’t care. I need you to keep going hard for the ball and that’s the type of player she is.”
Liesl Osteen drove in Terrianna Kelley with an RBI double, then Justine Lambert had an RBI double and McCoy had an RBI single to bring the score to 7-1.
Orange Lutheran (23-5) scored one more run in the fifth inning, then kept the Lions off base in the sixth. Center fielder Kai Minor, who doubled earlier in the game, made a running catch to end the inning.
Final: Oaks Christian 7, Orange Lutheran 2
An Oaks win for Justine Lambert’s birthday. pic.twitter.com/H3SggyuacP
— Haley Sawyer (@haleymsawyer) May 10, 2023
“The hardest thing about playoffs is unless you win the whole thing, everybody ends their season on a loss,” Lancers coach Steve Miklos said. “Our girls fought hard for seven innings and we just came up short this game.”
Eight players in Oaks Christian’s batting order recorded a hit on Thursday afternoon across six innings, a good sign for playoff games to come.
“We even have girls on the bench who can swing it,” Coyle said. “It’s great. You typically don’t have that every year in high school and it’s an awesome feeling to have that this year.”
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