LOS ALAMITOS – Ryan Denhart pitched a five-hitter, and Cami Sellers slugged a home run to lead Los Alamitos to a 4-1 victory over Santiago of Corona in a CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinal playoff game Thursday at Los Alamitos High.
The Griffins (27-3) are scheduled to host Orange Lutheran in a Division 1 semifinal on Tuesday. The Lancers defeated Valencia of Valencia, 1-0, on Thursday.
Santiago finished at 23-8.
Denhart, a senior who has signed with Maryland, struck out eight and allowed no walks in her complete-game victory.
“She pitched a hell of game,” Griffins coach Rob Weil said. “She hit her spots in tough situations.”
Sellers homered in the sixth to give the Griffins a 4-1 lead.
The game’s turning point, and a controversial one, came with Los Alamitos at bat in the second inning. It resulted in Santiago coach Brittney Gossett playing the game under protest.
With no score in the game, the Griffins had runners on first and second with one out. Allisha Martinez hit a low line drive to third baseman Brittany Allen, who quickly stepped on third base in an apparent attempt to get a force out. But the umpires ruled that Allen caught the ball in the air, and not on a short hop off the ground.
The two base runners, who had run on contact, were now on second and third as Allen threw to first baseman Alondra Mejia, who then threw to second. The runner, Michele Ota, was tagged for what Gossett argued should have been the third out.
After a lengthy discussion, the umpires allowed the runners to remain on second and third with two outs.
Jenna Kean came up and hit a single, scoring the runner from third. An error on the play allowed Ota to also score and Kean to reach third.
Allison Englant then singled home Kean to give the Griffins a 3-0 lead.
“I’m protesting because the runners moved to second and third without tagging up,” Gossett said. “The runner at second should have been out for the third out. It was definitely a momentum changer.”