Archive | April, 2013

A dedicated friend and family member; Richard Nicholson 1959-2013

Posted on 28 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

Rick Nicholson

Rick Nicholson

Even in the midst of his battle with cancer, Richard Nicholson wouldn’t let a friend or coworker in need down. He spent four hours on the phone helping a coworker at General Mills while he himself waited to go into surgery.

This dedication was no surprise to those who knew Rick. The La Habra resident lost his battle with cancer this April. Rick was an avid fisherman. You could usually find him at Big Bear Lake, Santa Ana River Lakes, Kings Canyon or out deep sea fishing. He loved to fish and teach others his secrets of how to find a good fishing spot.

Born the youngest of six children in Evansville, Indiana in 1959, he moved with his family to La Habra in 1961.

Being the youngest, Rick, or “Rickey,” as everyone knew him, was the adventurer in the family and was friends with everyone he met.
He also loved baseball and played with La Habra Little League at the former Blake Field. He was a rough-and-tough type, yet gentle-hearted.

He attended Las Lomas Elementary, Imperia Junior High and graduated La Habra High in 1977. Following his brothers and sisters as the last Nicholson to graduate.

Rick was naturally a hard worker. He seemed to always be out trying to find a way to make money whether it’s was a paper route, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, collecting soda bottles on a bike ride, or anything else he could do.

He settled in at General Mills and joined his local Teamsters 986, where he spent the last 27 years working. He loved his job and coworkers as if they were a second family.

Rick‘s battle with cancer was short. He was diagnosed in late January, but fought the good fight. Challenged, but never broken, Rick always found the positive in everything and took things as they came and he made the most of opportunities to encourage others and make someone smile.

He was kind, loving, big-hearted and always full of goodness. He always said to the medical team at Kaiser that “if your not going to fight on ‘Team Rick’ then your out.” He always would say “thanks” and “I love you from the bottom of my heart” and then give them a fist bump.

Rick is survived by his mother (Margie); brother: Earl; sisters: Mary Spence (Springfield, Mo.) Cathy Croteau, Dottie Lane (Irvine); Sons: Joey (Redding) and Shane (Likely),10 nieces and nephews and his long-time girlfriend Mary Norris.

A barbeque that was filled with more than 150 friends and family was held April 13 at Craig Park in Brea to honor Rick’s memory.

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Francis named new LH Heights mayor

Posted on 21 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

Roy Francis- 2012Absent the expected excitement and division of a usual meeting, Heights’ councilmembers in a unanimous vote Thursday evening selected Councilman Roy Francis as the new mayor.

In the last city gathering about a month ago Councilman Brian Bergman led the call and generated buzz among the group to postpone the selection of a new mayor, citing the absence of Michael Higgins who won a spot on the city council in the March elections and was in Africa at the time.

“You never know. I don’t count on anything,” Francis said referring to his expectations of the recent mayoral selection. “I appreciate the vote of confidence from the other councilmembers.”

Without hesitation Higgins was the first to nominate Francis, while Councilwoman Jane Williams seconded the selection. All members voted together shouting “Aye” to confirm the choice.

“I’m very happy that I got the position,” Francis said. “Even though we are a small city it’s going to take a lot of work to do some things.”
Also occurring in the evening, for the third time Bergman was selected by the council to act as mayor pro tem.

Although Francis first nominated Williams for the position, none of the members concurred with the motion and Higgins then nominated Bergman for the post. Miller seconded the motion, and all the members of the council confirmed the choice.

Bergman, being selected mayor pro tem, is ensured an easier path to become the future mayor of the Heights.

In the last meeting Miller cited tradition when he stated that the mayor pro tem usually follows suit to become the next mayor, calling the overlook a “slap in the face” if councilmembers did not select the mayor pro tem as the next city leader.

Asking the community to not reference city workers and residents by name when speaking at the podium to the council, the mayor’s first meeting sustained little drama.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate that we drag staff and we drag people from the audience in there when we make accusations,” Francis maintained in a phone interview.

Except for a couple of mishaps at the podium, the decorum of the meeting maintained a civil composure, Higgins said to the community from his council seat.

“I think this is the way a city council meeting should be,” Higgins stated. “I like the fact that we get a broad spectrum of residents that are willing to come up here and express their discontent or their content with items in a reasonable and responsible way.”

During the meeting Councilman Kyle Miller discussed concern with the overload of document requests from certain members of the community and the backlog the requests are causing for city employees.

He asked City Manager Shauna Clark, who has taken some heat from residents at the council podium, about the reason for the delays in document requests.

Unable to mention residents by name, Clark fumbled through her explanation in describing the backlog that a couple of community members have caused.

She explained later in an interview pointing to pages of public records requests by certain individuals.

“Many people think its retaliation because the city is prosecuting them (the individuals making the large amount of requests) for code enforcement violations,” Clark explained.

But residents who spoke at the podium maintain that the city should be able to provide any proof of spending.
Clark said that because the records requested date back to 2008 and the city has changed banks over the years, garnering cancelled checks and bank statements has become an ordeal and is time consuming for the small city staff.

However, the city is attempting and has tried to meet resident’s requests, she said.

Despite these concerns members of the council seemed to agree that the mayors first meeting went smooth.

“I’m just one vote out of five, and I want to have a consensus as much as we can, and if we disagree that’s … not a problem,” Francis said. “I’m working for everybody in the community, …”

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Heights looks to enter joint emergency operations with Downey

Posted on 21 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

Heights_Fire_1The La Habra Heights council members voted unanomously to enter into contract negotiations with the Downey Joint Powers Communications Center at a scheduled council meeting Thursday evening, justifying the increase in costs with superior emergency dispatch quality.
JPCC Fire Communications Supervisor Tracy Gonzales illustrated the effectiveness of her dispatch center to city council members, explaining how an agreement to enter into JPCC would upgrade the current process the fire department utilizes, however increasing costs to an estimated $40,000 a year, not including startup fees.

“What we’re going to get is experienced dispatchers,” said Doug Graft, La Habra Heights Fire Chief.

A report written to the city council by Carl Vos, Heights senior manager analyst, states that the JPCC upgrade utilizes “state-of-the-art technology to a consortium of four cities: Compton, Downey, Santa Fe Springs and Vernon.”

The report also describes the current system applied by the La Habra Heights Fire Department, illustrating an outdated and unusual operation compared to other cities.

Some of the benefits the Heights will receive, the report states, are pre-arrival instructions, capabilities of handling multiple calls, the ability to function during a disaster, improvements to communications and IT infrastructure and improved response times.

But when asked if the dispatch center will decrease response times, Gonzales outlined many of the possibilities or situations that occur during an emergency but never answered yes or no to the question from the council.

However, councilmembers were awed by the possibilities JPCC can offer to the LHHFD.

“The idea that somebody can respond to an emergency by giving information that may save one person’s life … that’s worth the price,” Councilman Michael Higgins said from his council seat.

Currently, the LHHFD is made up of volunteer firefighters, and the dispatcher is usually a young worker, Graft said.
Adopting the move to the Downey JPCC is strongly recommended by former LHHFD fire chiefs and the current Chief Graft.
“Right now we typically have only one person in dispatch,” Graft said.

The JPCC will offer two experienced dispatchers who will be able to offer instructions to on sight emergency crews — ranging from life-saving medical instructions to mapping accurate directions to the emergency sight and pre-arrival instructions.

With the agreement between JPCC and the city, the current volunteer dispatch position at LHHFD becomes expendable and another position would open up to aid the firefighters on the field, Graft explained.

Entering into an agreement with JPCC will increase costs to the community.

JPCC offered two payment options to the city, however the analyst stated on the document that the city prefers the option with a per call fee structure. The fee, according to the analyst’s document, would be $66 per incident plus a 10 percent administrative fee, for a total contract cost of $39,204. The analyst also notes the fee will increase 5 percent a year with a contract term of three years.

Also, to enter into this agreement the LHHFD will need to upgrade its communication equipment by paying a one-time startup fee to JPCC, estimated to cost $30,000 to $60,000

The analyst recommends the money for the startup costs come from the city’s undesignated general fund balance.
Heights Mayor Roy Francis touts the improvements JPCC could generate.

Francis describes an incident that occurred at his property years ago with the current system the LHHFD utilizes.
“I’m a recipient of a call that went wrong, and I don’t blame the dispatcher,” Francis said.

But communication from dispatchers could use improvement, Heights councilmembers agreed in the discussion at the meeting.
“If you call 911 and you get one of our dispatchers on the phone and you think you’re having a stroke, they can not do anything except for dispatch an ambulance and paramedic,” City Manager Shauna Clark said at the meeting about the current system the city utilizes.
Clark, who will oversee the contract with JPCC, highly recommends the city upgrade the current dispatch operations.

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Washington students train statewide educators at technology conference

Posted on 20 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

Washington__1PIn a room filled with educators looking for the next big thing in classroom technology at a state, four students from Washington Middle School captivated the teachers’ attention as they explained how they put together their iPad-based presentation.
The students, part of Teri Jackson’s class, demonstrated the process in which they used to research, create and present their class project titled The Voice(thread) of Islam”
The students explained to the teachers how they used Keynote and Voicethread for their multimedia presentation.
Jackson explained that it was about the collaborative process. “They took Cornell notes and then made it on Keynote and added their voice to the program,” she said. “Then they critiqued each other’s slides and then they put it on the cloud and that’s where I could pick it up and give my comments.”

The presentation took place in Palm Springs on March 14-16 at the State Student Technology Showcase. in front of more than 4,000 attendees.

The students, Nina Aguirre, Kasandra Lagos, Vanessa Morales and Betsy Nunez had given their presentation at the Orange County Computer-Using Educators conference and were asked to present at the statewide conference.
When asked if they were nervous presenting to teachers at the state conference, Morales was quick to explain, “we were kind of used to it by then.”

Washington Middle School Principal Mario Carlos explained how the concept of the students presenting to the educators helps to empower them, which prepares them for success in the future.

The project itself and the use of technology is something that helps strengthen the skills for today’s students.
“It’s the three Cs,” she explained. “Collaboration, communication and critical thinking; that’s what is needed for these 21st Century learners.”

Without skipping a beat, the students are already working on their next collaborative multimedia project and that the experience of teaching teachers is something that will stay with them thought the process.

“It’s great to see that students from La Habra are recognized for their hard work,” Carlos explained. “It’s something great that benefits the community, the school and definitely the students who presented.”

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Exhibit honors La Habra’s citrus history

Posted on 20 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Nicole Anderson
La Habra Journal

DSC_0847A new exhibit has been set up in the La Habra Historical Museum that tells the story of farmers who began the orchards within the city of La Habra.

With genuine artifacts at each display, visitors will learn the practices of farmers and how they learned by trial and error in order to establish themselves, grow, protect, and package crops such as oranges, lemons, walnuts and avocados. There is going to be a festival to honor the citrus farmers on April 18-22, so brush up on your La Habra history and check out the new exhibit.

The next exhibit that will be coming to the La Habra Historical Museum is “Old Businesses of La Habra” and the museum staff is looking for artifacts between the 1920s-1960s from anything from matchbooks to business cards and anything in between that fits the time frame of the exhibit.

If you have anything stored away that could benefit the exhibit or questions, feel free to call Suzette Eschberger at
(562) 999-6453

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Little girl with a heart of a warrior

Posted on 20 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Christina Ledesma
La Habra Journal

MMA_3Cheyenne Bowman is not your average 10 year old girl. She is ranked No. 1 in the USA for girls wrestling, a heavy competitor in Mixed Martial Arts and Muay Thai, and an honor student who plays football and loves to dance.

Bowman first started competing in Muay Thai when she was 6 years old. Her mother placed her and her brother in a children’s program at CSW (Combat Submission Wrestling), a training center with Erik Paulson located in Fullerton.

Bowman’s mother Suzette Ornelas Medina said that her daughter excelled quickly in the program because she had learned how to be aggressive from playing football with her brother. Overtime, Bowman’s technique became very good and then she started to compete. About two years ago, one of Bowman’s trainers encouraged her to also do wrestling to help build her technique and also help her get a scholarship for college.

Medina then placed her daughter in beginners wrestling. The coaches then noticed how aggressive Bowman was and moved her up to train at a more advanced level. “It’s not because her technique was so good, because it wasn’t. She was just so tough and so used to doing the mixed martial arts and grappling that she took to it really well.”

Bowman recently competed in the USA state tournament in March and took first place in the girls wrestling division. She also competed in an all-boy tournament, but did not do as well.

“That was a tougher tournament she didn’t do too good, but she’s going up against nothing but boys there really no girls at that tournament,” said Medina.

Although competing against boys is a challenge for Bowman, she enjoys the competition and likes to prove that she is just as tough as they are.

Bowman is a fourth grader at Sierra Vista Elementary School; she is also an honor student and understands the importance of excelling in the classroom.

Bowman said that being a student athlete does come easier to her because she is focused and does it every day. “I have a lot of pride in what I do,” she explained.

Medina is constantly reminding her daughter that her education comes first. And is also very supportive of her daughter no matter what she chooses to do in the future. “I think she definitely can have a very bright future and it doesn’t have to be MMA but it’s whatever she chooses to do. School is always first than it’s wrestling and then comes her mixed martial arts because wrestling is her ticket to college hopefully and without education and without having good grades it’s going to be a tough road in life.”
With all the negative media about children competing in MMA, Medina said that it’s very important to focus on the fact that it teaches discipline, consistency and dedication.

“I just don’t agree with the stereotype of what they see on UFC. ‘It’s like oh my gosh these kids are really doing this?’ No absolutely not, there are no head strikes in kids MMA its more submissions, its points, there’s a lot of rules to it. It’s something the kids obviously have fun doing and it isn’t a bad thing.”

Medina has four kids that train in MMA and four that wrestle, she said that there is a lot of bad media on children who are involved in these sports and assume that these children will take these skills to school and become bullies. “That is not the case. You know what, I am really glad my kids are wresting and they’re doing MMA because it’s showing them discipline, they take pride in what they’re doing and they’re staying busy.” Medina wants people to educate themselves on the sport before passing judgment on what these children do. She said that her daughter has never used this sport violently at school.

Although Bowman is constantly training with boys, she does have a feminine side to her and also loves to dance. However, she is not able to compete in dance because it is around the same time as wrestling.

Even with her busy training schedule Bowman still finds time to go to the dance studio after her training. “She recently just landed her aerial, so she can do a cart wheel with no hands.” Bowman also competed for her first jujitsu tournament for CSG; she competed against all boys and came in 2nd place. Here next competition will take place on May 4th in Pasadena, where she will be competing in a MMA League called Kids Pankration. Bowman hopes to compete in the Olympics for wrestling and also wants to become a UFC fighter one day.

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LHHS students get ready to show off their ‘Pride’

Posted on 19 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

LHHS_Theater_3At La Habra High School’s Pitlockry Hall a young female actress, part of the theater guild, releases soothing notes from her chest into the air, warming her voice to prepare for a long four-hour rehearsal.

The stage crew scurries on the set, dragging antique furniture around and placing stage props in a meticulous fashion, while other teenage students ramble on about normal high school gossip — awaiting instruction.

And at the sound of the teacher’s command the young actors and stage crew scramble to their positions. The dull room lights turn off; the vivacious stage lights illuminate the set, and in a whim the theater students transform into Victorian era Britons.

In its final production of the school year, beginning this Friday, the LHHS Theater Guild presents to the community — after a month of preparation — J.R. Sullivan and Joseph Hanreddy’s adaption of Jane Austen’s nineteenth century novel “Pride and Prejudice.”
“It’s a complicated love story,” Brian Johnson, LHHS theater director and teacher, said. “Our kids have worked really hard, and I’m excited to see what it looks like on Friday night.”

In her debut performance LHHS junior Juliette Stryker, 16, takes on the lead role of Elizabeth Bennet, displaying the grace and charm of the prideful character Austen created during a period when the female’s voice was seldom heard.

Stryker’s subtle acting yields truthfulness and a believable character, Johnson said about why he chose the budding actress as the lead role in her first ever production.

“She’s really charming to watch,“ he said.

The young student actress touts Austen’s leading female personality as an admirable character, praising her strength.
“Elizabeth is my role model,” Stryker said. “If there is anyone who I would love to meet, like a character out of a book, it would be Elizabeth Bennett because she’s … way ahead of her time.”

Complimented with this female role is another prideful yet wealthy masculine character.

Cast as the male lead in the play, senior Bernie Hefner, 17, is in his third year as an actor for the theater guild and finds the role of Fitzwilliam Darcy difficult because of the complexity of the text.

“It’s a really literate text, and it takes a lot of talent,” Hefner said, although he appreciates this version. “I think this adaption … explains the text without dragging it on so much.”

Darcy professes to find Elizabeth intolerable throughout the story, while Elizabeth’s feeling is mutual. But throughout the novel both characters run into each other eventually developing a relationship.

In typical British fashion, class plays a role in how the two characters pertain to feel about each other. Darcy is in the wealthy upper class while Elizabeth dwells below in the social hierarchy.

“I’m known in this as the original bad-boy, I guess. And the girl falls for the bad-boy,” Hefner said about Darcy’s character.
“At first they hate each other because they see that they are equally matched,” Stryker said. “But there’s like this weird attraction that they don’t quite understand, and they end up being together.”

In his ninth year at the helm of the theater guild, Johnson feels the year has been successful, raking in close to $100,000 in ticket sales.

“The audiences have responded well to our productions this year,” Johnson said about the guild. “There’s been a lot of buzz about the work we’re doing here.”

And although young Hefner describes the hard work the theater guild offers as tedious, he feels the stress of learning from the guild offers satisfaction with the results it produces.
However, the weeks of preparation from the youthful theater students seem to be yielding an enjoyable production, able to propel theatergoers into the midst of the nineteenth century with intelligent English accents and witty humor.
The production opens on April 19 at Pitlockrey Hall in LHHS and proceeds to play on April 20, 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. with matinees available on April 20 and 27.

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Scout’s Eagle project benefits JROTC

Posted on 19 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

Scouting_1Through years of training, camping and learning the rougher yet simpler ways of life, the young members of Boy Scouts of America climb the steps of different ranks, learning to mature into responsible adults.

One young Sonora High School senior and ROTC student finds himself a step closer in that process.

After earning 21 merit badges and progressing through five rankings, Michael Zeyen, 17, completed his Boy Scout leadership service project on Tuesday at Sonora High School, inching him closer to maturing into the coveted ranking of an Eagle Scout.

“It’s challenging. It teaches you new things, something you don’t learn everyday like camping, living off the land and how to do everything you need to do to survive out in the wilderness,” Zeyen said about what life lessons he absorbed through his trek as a Boy Scout.

Also a cadet captain in the Sonora JROTC program, Zeyen designed and led the building of wooden plaques representing the ROTC ranking insignias to complete his leadership service project—one of the final steps in becoming an Eagle Scout.

The plaques, sizes 8.5” by 11”, are painted black with gold embossed symbols and have large magnets on the back, so they could stick to the metal walls in the school’s class room.

They were designed for Sonora JROTC teacher and 1st Sgt. David Marquez and presented as a gift to him and the school.

With the help of his father and older brother who realize the nature of his accomplishment — he has two older Eagle Scout brothers — the plaques were hung up high at the front of the JROTC class at Sonora.

Zeyen’s mother was also present to observe his accomplishment.
“Self confidence is a big thing,” his mother Shelly Zeyen said about what her son has obtained from the Boy Scouts of America. “You can do more than what you think you can do.”

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Sparling leads the Highlanders from the mound

Posted on 19 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

LHHS_SHS_Baseball__SperlingCWhile practice and preparation are crucial in terms of finding success in any sport, on occasion an athlete just has a good feeling heading into a matchup here or there.

Last Tuesday was one of those days for La Habra senior pitcher Sean Sparling, and it turned out he had good reason to feel that way as he threw a no-hitter against Troy on the road.

Not only that, but the win earned Sean and the Highlanders a 2-to-1 series win over the Warriors and kept them in second place in the Freeway League standings behind rival Sonora.

“Before the game, I was thinking about throwing one because it’s one of my season goals, but I was feeling it before the game,” Sean said. “During the game, I was just trying to stay calm, hit my spots and do what I needed to get batters out.”

The no-hitter could be an early culmination of Sean’s hard work in a new system provided by first-year head coach John Sothern.

It could also be a sign of things to come if Sean continues to work endlessly at his craft, something Sothern has recognized since he first saw his senior ace take the mound.

“He’s a pretty quiet guy, not a boisterous type of person,” Sothern said. “When I first got around him, I wasn’t sure how to take him, but when you see him in the pen and on the field, he’s working hard at getting better at what he does. He’s fairly advanced on the pitching aspect, so he’s working hard on the mental aspect of things now.”

For Sean, it’s another goal realized, the senior admitting that he wanted to throw a no-hitter at some point during his final season at La Habra. Consider that item crossed off the list.

But it didn’t come without a little anxiety as Sean said he felt some pressure as he was heading down the stretch.

“It was nagging at me a little, but I was still feeling comfortable out there,” he said. “I noticed I was getting close to it in the 5th inning, there was a little pressure, but I tried to stay calm and I got it done. I’m very thankful.”

But Sean only appeared to get stronger down the stretch, relying on his secondary pitches and trusting in his coach’s scouting and pitch selection.

As if in sync, when he shook off a sign, Sean went to the next pitch that Sothern would call anyway.
The performance was one that Sothern had confidence that his ace could pull off.

“From the first time I saw his mix of pitches and his presence, I knew he was our No. 1 guy,” Sothern said. “And he could have easily thought ‘a new coach, I got this’, but I made one little suggestion after his first outing and to see him working on that immediately and having success and then reminding me that I told him that, so he’s been working on it, it shows that he really does care.”

Coming into the season, Sean knew that this was his year to step up. He also knew that this year was going to be different with his new coach.

However, an immediate acceptance of the change and a constant drive to learn and make adjustments has kept Sean on top of his game. Despite a 3-3 record, his earned run average is at a very respectable 1.56 runs per game.

Though he stays relatively quiet, Sean showed in his next pitching performance that he had taken in the advice given by his coach and was making attempts to work on them.

“I knew before the season started that I was going to be one of the leaders on the team and I’ve been having a lot of fun so far this season,” he said. “He [Sothern] is always trying to coach me up and I’m always here to listen, so the things he tells me, I work on and try to get better any way I can.”

In that regard, perhaps the installment of Sothern as head coach came at a good time for Sean, who is currently looking into schools to take his game to the collegiate level.

The senior said he still has a decision to make, but UC Irvine could be a very good destination for him.

“I’ve had a couple visits, I’m trying to decide where to go within the next week or so and that’s one of the places I’m definitely considering,” he said.

He continued to say that a decision could come as early as next week, which could give him more time to focus on his senior season and continuing to work on making himself stronger toward the end of the season.

While he spends most of his time at school or on the practice field, when Sean does get free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends and doing the usual teenage activities, some of which include miniature golf, frisbee golf and heading to the movies.
In his senior year, Sean said his Biology/Forensics class stands out as one that piques his interest.

But when it comes to role models, it came as no surprise when Sean mentioned another pitcher and his father, Vern.

Sean credits Bryce Stowell, a La Habra graduate and current minor league pitcher, with having a big impact on his game while in high school, while his father “is always there for me, helping me out and helping me progress as college approaches.”

With that kind of support system and the evolution of his game through the current coaching staff at La Habra, it’s no surprise to see Sean continuing to progress as the season unfolds.

“I’m just excited,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing where my career will take me and I’m going to keep doing what I can to be successful.”

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Lady Highlanders edge Sonora in crosstown match

Posted on 19 April 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Senior Nicole Demille connects for the Lady Highlanders in their win over Sonora Thursday.

Senior Nicole Demille connects for the Lady Highlanders in their win over Sonora Thursday.

In a game that featured six home runs, the La Habra softball team outmuscled city rival Sonora to a 6-4 victory at La Habra High, Thursday afternoon.

The Lady Highlanders pounded four home runs and never trailed as they remained a game back of Sunny Hills in the Freeway League standings. Sonora dropped to 1-3 in league play.

“It doesn’t matter the sport, Sonora and La Habra is always a good game,” said Frank McCarroll, La Habra coach. “Offensively, we’re struggling a little bit and a part of it is the young team, but we got timely hitting today, which we really haven’t had over the course of the season.”

Racquel and Camille Manzo, Nikki Butler and Amanda Akles all homered for La Habra, as all of its runs were scored by home run.

Kianna Scott and Madison Gimpl went deep for Sonora. Scott led the Lady Raiders offense with two hits and three RBI.

All six home runs were hit between left and center field, a sign that strong winds blowing from behind home plate may have proved beneficial.

Racquel Manzo put the Lady Highlanders up with her solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. In the second inning, Nikki Butler’s two-run shot to left field made it 3-0.

After the Lady Raiders scored in the fourth inning, Sonora starter Sarah Hauke gave up a solo home run to Camille Manzo, which put La Habra back up by three runs in the fifth inning.

Hauke came into the matchup having thrown 141 pitches just two days prior in an 11-inning battle with Sunny Hills.

“She had one day off to come back from that, so she was a little fatigued and she left the ball up a bit,” said Michelle Rodriguez, Sonora coach. “It’s not an excuse because we still need her to do what she does, but unfortunately the two balls that were up were big.”

La Habra threatened to stretch the lead further in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Sonora center fielder Leandra Jew’s strong throw home beat Akles as she was tagged by catcher Audrey Castro.

Sensing that time was running out, the Lady Raiders began to figure out Lady Highlander’s starter Vanessa Ciocatto.

With runners on first and second in the fourth inning, Scott recorded a third consecutive base hit for Sonora, which scored Katie Amaral.

“Leandra’s play was huge, it was a momentum changer,” Rodriguez said. “For us to come right back and get a run after shutting them down, was a huge key to staying in the game. We also got a bit more aggressive at the plate, sometimes we come out too timid and take too many strikes, I thought they adjusted well today.”

In the sixth inning, Sonora (6-10, 1-3) collected three more hits off Ciocatto, including Scott’s two-run homer to center, which cut La Habra’s lead down to one run at 4-3.

However, Sonora’s momentum was halted when Butler, La Habra’s freshman catcher, caught Castro trying to steal second base to end the inning.

“I thought that play helped us out the most,” McCarroll said. “Not knocking any of the other catchers we’ve had recently, but Nikki’s the best one we’ve had in a while.”

The Lady Highlanders then had a response. After a leadoff single by Racquel Manzo, Akles launched her two-run homer to deep left field, putting La Habra back up 6-3.

Gimpl made it 6-4 with a one-out solo home run in the seventh inning, but Ciocatto induced two fly ball outs, one on a sharp liner to right field, to preserve the victory.

The Lady Highlanders (14-9, 3-1), who maintain their second-place standing in the Freeway League, will head out to face Troy on the road, Tuesday.

“We’re still trying to figure out an approach at the plate with our team,” McCarroll said. “Once they figure out that what we’re telling them isn’t that bad and with their abilities, we should be okay.”

Sonora, which has lost three league games by a combined five runs, will host Buena Park, Tuesday.

“This is one of the first games in a long time that we’ve played clean defensively,” Rodriguez said. “Now we just have to put it all together.”

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