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Loss to Esperanza Leaves Griffins in Sunset League Cellar


Los Alamitos, which defeated one of the state's top teams less than a month ago, finds itself at the bottom of the Sunset League standings after losing, 1-0, to Esperanza on Thursday.

"We're not out of the running for the playoffs," Los Alamitos Coach Renee Bergeron said. But a league title appears almost out of the question for the defending Sunset champion.

Esperanza, ranked seventh in Orange County, is 14-4-1 overall, 2-1 in league and trails first-place Fountain Valley (14-5, 4-0). Los Alamitos, which beat Fairfield, ranked seventh in the state, at a tournament last month, dropped to 6-9, 1-3 and is tied for last place with Edison and Huntington Beach.

Esperanza was led Thursday by pitcher Kristen Dedmon, who stranded five runners in the second and third innings, then went on to retire 11 in a row. She gave up three hits, struck out five and didn't walk anyone.

Dedmon (11-3), a sophomore, has gone 89 innings without allowing an earned run.

"So many times this year, when we get a run, I have a lot of confidence we can finish it," Esperanza Coach Dennis Fox said after beating Los Alamitos in a league game for the first time in his four-year tenure.

It has been even longer than that since Esperanza beat the Griffins in a league game. The Aztecs are trying to reach the playoffs this season for the first time since 1988, Fox said, and win their first title since 1979.

Esperanza got closer to that goal by scoring the run Fox needed in the third inning.

April Murray reached base on an error, took second on a bunt and scored when the Griffins made two errors on the same play, the ball going off the glove of the shortstop and then the left fielder on a hard grounder by Dedmon.

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