Archive | June, 2015

La Habra tops OC in water cuts

La Habra tops OC in water cuts

Posted on 18 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

According to the April water conservation report by supplier issued by the state, La Habra has saved more water than any other city in Orange County.

The report lists La Habra as saving 18 percent  compared to last year. This number edges past East Orange County Water District’s 16 percent savings.
La Habra’s Water and Sewer Manager Brian Jones explained that the city is tasked by the State Water Board to reduce overall water use by 28 percent.
He explained that the state water board determines the limit based on perLa Habra logo-small capita use over a select period of time, and then compares monthly use to that of the same month’s use in previous years.
In May, 2015, La Habra consumers reduced water use by approximately 28 percent.
“I don’t know how that compares to other agencies, but it is the highest monthly reduction for La Habra since we began reporting in September 2014,” Jones explained.  “We are hopeful that this trend will continue.”
Jones explained that the city  has a staff member that canvases neighborhoods looking for water waste and notifies the resident or commercial property owner.
“The notice explains the nature of the violation and provides an opportunity to take corrective action,” he explained. “Our intent is to work with our customers, and garner compliance through education and awareness.”
To date, 150 notices of water waste have been issued.
The city utilizes community events to inform residents about  water conservation.
“We have plenty of literature and giveaways such as low-flow shower heads, aerators, toilet dams, and shower timers for example” Jones said.
One of the newest aspects of the State’s restrictions, Jones said, is that there is to be no irrigating during or 48 hours following a rain event.
He indicated that the city staff will continue to utilize non-emergency features to send a phone blast when such rain events stand a strong likelihood of occurring, so people will be aware.
Jones directs people to the city website that  provides an easy avenue to learn about rebate programs for water conservation as well as reporting water waste.
Throughout June, all consumers will receive the city’s annual water quality report.  While the report is intended to display the water quality parameters of the City’s water supply, Jones said that it also holds plenty of information on water conservation.
He added that the city is committed to working with residents to continue to conserve water.

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Heights to reduce water usage

Posted on 18 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

La Habra Heights residents must cutback its water usage after the LHH  Water District Board voted June 11 to comply with the mandatory 25 percent water use reduction handed down by the state two months ago.
Director and Vice President of the La Habra Heights County Water District Pam McVicar briefly detailed to the  city council at its June meeting, the specific cutbacks residents must face, including limiting the watering of ornamental landscapes or turf to only two days a week or face a possible $500 fine.
County Water district Ordinance 15-01, passed with a unanimous vote, keeping the city in compliance with the state’s mandate.
Under the emergency rules, residents in LH Heights must limit watering areas like the lawn to two days a week before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Homes with addresses ending in odd numbers are allowed to water on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while residents in even numbered addresses are allowed to irrigate their property on Sundays and Thursdays.
Commercial and institutional properties must also face the same cutbacks.
Businesses, like the golf course or The Park, amongst other requirements, must face either a two day per week water use regulation or a 25 percent reduction in its water use as compared to its water usage in the same months compared to 2013.
“The city will comply,” said Mayor Michael Higgins in a phone interview.
“There’s going to be people that won’t comply with anything, and there’s going to be other people that will do more than their share to cutback on water, and there will be all these people in between,” Higgins explained. “We’re going to have to deal with it.”
The mayor believes residents throughout the state of California should look into replacing some of its water intense landscape with more sustainable drought tolerant landscape.
“People that have these big lawns, and it’s a big question if they will do something about it,’” Higgins said. “I think some will.”
Higgins said he doesn’t believe the city has enough money to use as incentive to cause any drought tolerant changes, but he said Los Angeles County offers some programs.
Concerned about steps the city might be able to take to help reduce property owner’s water usage, Mayor Pro Tem Kyle Miller asked council to take-up grey water usage at the July meeting.
Grey water is the water generated from households or office buildings, aside for the wastewater from toilets.
Miller hopes to search for a way to allow residents to use grey water, or recycled water, for landscape usage, acknowledging that the city does not enforce or make the water rules, but the water district does.
“This is just making mandated which was requested before by the water department,” Miller said about the water boards recent vote. “They made it mandatory because the state gave them no option.”
“If there are some violations, I recommend an education approach,” Miller said, although he notes the city has the ability to fine non-compliant residents.
McVicar said the city will not have to worry about the drought effecting the city’s ability to fight fires.
“The La Habra Heights county water districts will have plenty of water to fight fires,” she said.
The city built a three million gallon holding tank a few years ago that provides an emergency water supply, which was recommended by the state.
Residents should be concerned about clearing the dry brush around their property, McVicar stated.
And Miller has already started letting the landscape at his home succumb to the area’s natural colors brought on by the Southern California climate.
“It’s not green,” he said. ’I’m letting it get a little brown, and I’m okay with that.”

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LH Chamber serves up food for a cause

LH Chamber serves up food for a cause

Posted on 18 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Chamber of Commerce hosted the 32nd annual Chamber Night at Senor Campos in La Habra 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Serving smiles: Central Drugs Ben Cano brings drinks to a table during the La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night last Tuesday at Senor Campos restaurant.

Serving smiles: Central Drugs Ben Cano brings drinks to a table during the La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night last Tuesday at Senor Campos restaurant.

Chamber Night is a fundraiser where members of the Chamber take over the restaurant and raise money for the organization and other organizations in the city through tips.  It was originally hosted at the former Trapper’s Inn.
After Trappers closed, John and Tillie Campos invited the Chamber members to continue the tradition at the new location, Senor Campos.
To help instill a level of competitiveness the 30 volunteers were split into five teams.
Each team took care of their own area of the restaurant: hosting, waiting and busing tables, bartending, and dishwashing.
“They’re doing everything but the cooking,” said Eric Heilmann, Senor Campos employee.
Heilmann and his coworker Erik Lucas ran the front and were in charge of making sure all of the tip money went to the fundraiser. Other than the cooks and a few Senor Campos waiters helping out, the entire restaurant was taken care of by the volunteers.
The wait staff consisted of business owners, La Habra council members, La Habra police officers, and members of the La Mirada area Chambers of Commerce.
“La Mirada has been very helpful to our area over the years. We are constantly cooperating and collaborating with them,” said La Habra Chamber President Mark Sturdevant.
Approximately 275 people were registered to attend the fundraiser, but with walk-ins included the Chamber members waited on approximately 500 guests.  The tables were turned over three times, which is the maximum amount for the restaurant dinner hour.
Accompanying the dinner and drinks was live music and an appearance by the Miss La Habra court.
Some of the chamber members took turns at the microphone thanking guests for their participation in the fundraiser and introducing key members of the community.

Photos by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal May I take your order: Pacific Community Credit Union’s Tim McAdam takes an order from patrons during La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night last Tuesday at Senor Campos restaurant.

Photos by Jay Seidel/La Habra Journal
May I take your order: Pacific Community Credit Union’s Tim McAdam takes an order from patrons during La Habra Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Night last Tuesday at Senor Campos restaurant.

“This is easily one of the busiest nights of the year,” Heilmann said. The restaurant was so packed that additional tables had to be set up in the waiting area to accommodate all of the guests.
The restaurant buzzed with positive feedback from guests. A woman being waited on by the chamber members gushed to her wait staff, “This demonstrates such great participation in the community.”
The chamber members and community leaders waited tables near the bar and also took care of the bartending. “Councilman Jim Gomez is in a league of his own,” Sturdevant said. “We’re all just trying to keep up with him.”
With tips from the bar and meals combined, the council members raised the most money for the event. However, the police department was able to take the lead in tips on the main floor. In total, the members raised approximately $10,000 in tips for the chamber, which is a record for the event.
As stated, the purpose of the event is to raise money for the Chamber of Commerce. However, each year the Chamber picks other organizations in the city they want to donate a percentage of the proceeds to.
This year, the Chamber decided to donate funds to the Special Olympics, which La Habra is a host town for international athletes participating in the World Games in Los Angeles, which takes place July 25-August 2.  Additional proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the La Habra Police K9 Foundation and scholarships for high school students in business programs.

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La Habra offers family fun

La Habra offers family fun

Posted on 18 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

LHJ Chamber Night2015

LHJ Chamber Night2015

Hundreds of children woke up at the break of dawn last Saturday to take part in the La Habra sponsored fishing derby at Clark Regional Park in Buena Park.
The fishing derby was in conjunction with the OC Parks Kids Fishing program.
Katie Elmore, assistant recreation manager for La Habra Recreation Department said that the city has planned many family-centered events this summer.
Earlier in month, Mothers joined their daughters for a tea and fashion show.
Coming up will be a father-daughter dance and many other events.
From more information about the events, go to www.lahabracity.com or call (562) 383-4205

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La Habra’s graffiti guardian

La Habra’s graffiti guardian

Posted on 18 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Christian Fletcher
La Habra Journal

Early in the morning before some have even gone to sleep, Ernesto Oros wakes up to start his day.
After a 71-mile commute from Banning, Oros begins his shift working for the city of La Habra’s graffiti clean up team at 4 a.m.

Christian Fletcher/La Habra Journal Keeping La Habra clean: Ernesto Oros works long days for the city to keep La Habra graffiti free. Oros is called out to document and paint over any reported graffiti in the city.

Christian Fletcher/La Habra Journal
Keeping La Habra clean: Ernesto Oros works long days for the city to keep La Habra graffiti free. Oros is called out to document and paint over any reported graffiti in the city.

His task is to keep La Habra graffiti free and remove any and all markings in the city throughout the morning.
But Oros, 55, has no complaints, in fact he’s doing what he loves.  Oros always wanted to work for the city.  He also wanted to combat the stereotype of the lazy city government employee that he had seen so often.
“I told myself if I got a job at the city I wanna do my best and work hard,” Oros said.
And work he does. The father of four and grandfather of nine, navigates the city and is committed to removing the markings that can turn into blight.
His daily route takes him through the city’s parks and along its railroads where graffiti is at often its worst.
From a large unsightly tag to a more artistically painted wall, Oros documents each blemish for the Orange County Sheriffs Department and La Habra Police Department before carefully matching the paint to the preexisting wall’s color.
Law enforcement uses the data Oros collects to track gang activity associated with graffiti, making his job not just one of beautification, but also supporting the men and women who keep the community safe at night.
Oros has been working for the city of La Habra for almost 15 years, and in that time he has seen the tides of gang territory shift.  When painting over fresh graffiti he can not only tell you the “crew” that tagged it but a bit about how long they have been around.
However, Oros is just one part of the team keeping La Habra beautiful, While he’s out hitting the streets Josie Anderson is in the office making sure he has all the support he needs from the city.
Anderson has been working for the city for 16 years and in fact she was one of the driving forces to help transition the graffiti clean up program from an all volunteer based system on the weekend to a daily effort supported by the city.
Anderson has seen the evolution of the graffiti cleanup team move from a volunteer basis to the city employing a full-time employee.
When they started, she said they “didn’t have that many volunteers, there was more graffiti than we could handle at the time.”
From there, Anderson integrated the probation program which has been running strong for 14 years.
One year ago Anderson helped the La Habra Police Department and the Community Center create a joint venture called The Juvenile Diversion Program.
The program has minors convicted of crimes sentenced to community service help clean up graffiti.
Oros says he enjoys working with the kids and he has seen very few kids return to the program, showing him that it does have a good success rate.
Anderson  explained one possible reason for the success.
“I tell Ernesto to be firm with them because thats the only way they are going to learn, and some of these probation and diversion kids have put on the graffiti themselves.” Anderson went on to joke, “I tell him sometimes  to have them use a toothbrush to make sure they learn their lesson.”
But it’s not all tough words.  Anderson has a sort of encouraging pep talk with the kids before they go out each time, letting them know that they can be so much more and they don’t have to waste their lives away.
“It was so neat that I had one kid say, ‘I wish you were my mom,’” Anderson explained.  “When I asked him why he said, ‘Cause you care,’ that really hit me.”
It’s success stories like this that keep the program running and help keep La Habra beautiful. It also doesn’t hurt that Oros considers Anderson the best boss he ever had and Anderson has nothing but good things to say about Oros. The two make a great team in helping to keep La Habra clean.
If you would like to volunteer and join the team that keeps La Habra graffiti free, contact Josie Anderson at JAnderson@lahabraca.gov.

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El ‘Piolín’ comparte mensaje  de triunfo y perseverancia

El ‘Piolín’ comparte mensaje de triunfo y perseverancia

Posted on 18 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

Por Genesis Miranda
La Habra Journal

“¿A qué venimos? ¡A triunfar!” La frase que muchos radio escuchas conocen si escuchan El Show de Piolín de Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo.

Triunfo y perseverancia: La personalidad de radio Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo visitó la biblioteca de La Habra para compartir su historia de cómo luchó por el sueño americano.

Triunfo y perseverancia: La personalidad de radio Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo visitó la biblioteca de La Habra para compartir su historia de cómo luchó por el sueño americano.

Sotelo se ha convertido en un icono de la radio. Una inspiración para muchas personas quienes, como él, llegaron a este país en busca de una mejor vida.
Sotelo visitó la biblioteca pública de la ciudad de La Habra este viernes pasado, 5 de Junio, para convivir con su gente, hablar de luchar por tus sueños y compartir su autobiografía titulada “¿A qué venimos? ¡A triunfar!: Cómo encontré mi voz entre la esperanza, la fuerza y la determinación”.
Beatriz Preciado, la bibliotecaria de programas de adultos contacto al locutor de radio después de ver su autobiografía en la lista de libros en español para añadir a la biblioteca.
“Estaba yo mirando libros para mi colección de español y su libro salió en la lista entonces empecé a buscar más información. Entonces me fui a la página del radio y dije ‘pues deja le trato a ver qué’, así paso”, dijo Preciado.
Afortunadamente se logró que el “Piolín” pudiera visitar y compartir su mensaje de la perseverancia con los que asistieron.
Varias personas se detuvieron a platicar con el “Piolín”, quien se dio el tiempo de conversar con cada uno. Platico, vaciló y se tomó fotos con sus radio escuchas.
“Cuando yo recibí el correo de Beatriz, que trabaja aquí en la biblioteca se me hizo un gesto muy bonito que me dijo Piolín me gustaría poner tu libro ‘¿A qué venimos? ¡A triunfar!’ en la biblioteca crees que pudieras darte el tiempo de venir a saludarnos a la comunidad y se me hizo un detalle muy bonito Entonces dije es una bendición venir para acá y convivir con la gente”, dijo Sotelo.
Su autobiografía cuenta en detalle la historia de cómo él llegó a este país y los obstáculos que enfrento hasta lograr sus metas y convertirse en el “Piolín” que todos conocemos hoy.
El libro viene dedicado “A todas las personas que se levantan cada mañana para salir adelante sin importar los obstáculos que estén enfrentando. Mantengan siempre la fe y la esperanza.”
Su libro, el cual acaba de salir este año, también cuenta con un prólogo escrito por Emilio Estefan.
Incluso muy pronto se podrá encontrar su libro en la biblioteca de La Habra.
“Entonces bien contento porque Beatriz pos su papa es de Sinaloa y su mama es de Guatemala y ver sus raíces tan importantes de poder compartir a más gente el lugar de la biblioteca pública yo creo que es importante visitarla continuamente porque aquí se aprende mucho.”
Muchas personas llegaron de diferentes ciudades para ver a “Piolín” y convivir todos juntos.
“Vengo del trabajo, me salí como media hora más temprano para poder llegar”, dijo Consuelo Ceja, quien vino desde Anaheim.
Ceja dice que ha escuchado a “Piolín” en la radio por mucho tiempo, “Como unos cinco años, me cambie a la 101 y ahora que vino y vino a mi estación, pues feliz”.
“A veces en las mañanas cuando estoy manejando hacia el trabajo escucho el programa, incluso ya cuando aceptaron la invitación estuve escuchando y escuchaba cuando hacían los anuncios que iban a estar aquí en la biblioteca so estaba muy contenta”, dijo Preciado.
“Se me hizo muy padre que haya venido y que haya estado con toda la gente, súper buena onda”, dijo Marcela Estrada de La Mirada. “Que se haya tomado el tiempo de dedicar todos los autógrafos, muy raro que venga para acá”. Estrada ha escuchado el programa de radio del Piolín desde que comenzó.
El Show de Piolín se puede escuchar en la Super Estrella en 107.1 o en la página de internet www.elshowdepiolin.net
El mensaje que Sotelo siempre les comparte a sus radio escuchas es de siempre luchar por sus sueños, les recuerda que llegaron a este país con un propósito: para triunfar.
“Es mi familia mi amor, los radio escuchas somos una familia que nos motivamos mutualmente porque al verlos yo sonreír a ellos a mí me motiva más echarle ganas. Y al decirle a ellos ‘¿A qué venimos? ¡A triunfar!’ entonces ellos lo responden”, dijo Sotelo. “Eso pues es un mensaje que  tenemos que llevar todos los días como una bandera en nuestra vida porque es a lo que realmente venimos a este país y a esta vida no?”

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A commitment to the community at  Hectors Furniture

A commitment to the community at Hectors Furniture

Posted on 18 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Breanna Flores
La Habra Journal

The digital era has made buying furniture as easy as clicking a button—as long as you are willing to settle. Hector’s Furniture in La Habra  has offered customers custom furniture pieces for the past 50 years.

LHJ Chamber Night2015

La Habra staple: The four Amezcua brothers feel their showroom and American-made furniture sold in La Habra has helped them to connect with the community for more than 50 years.

“Our store is different than a lot of stores are today, because they basically order things from china. If you get a sofa from there, it only comes in one color,” said Raul Amezcua, one of the four owners of Hector’s Furniture.
Brothers Hector, Ernest, Al and Raul Amezcua purchase inventory from American manufacturers so that they can offer several different colors and fabrics to customers.
“We can get it in any fabric you want. If you get a piece from China. They offer it in one color and you have to buy a boatload. Here, we can order one or two pieces,” Amezcua said.
“We’re able to compete in a market where everyone is selling low-quality items, and we’re selling quality pieces,” salesman Mike Meseck added.
Originally, Hector’s Furniture sold and manufactured mattresses, and gradually added furniture to the business. They later decided to discontinue manufacturing mattresses and eventually began focusing on furniture pieces.
Today, customers can find custom furniture for homes and offices at a medium price range.
The Amezcuas appreciate the location in La Habra.
One of the ways that the business has maintained a competitive edge is by offering personalized pieces and making customers feel as comfortable as possible by eliminating the pressures of commission sales.
Employees at Hector’s Furniture do not pressure customers to make fast purchases because they do not receive compensation based on how many items they sell.
Amezcua said that mature generations prefer visiting furniture stores because they want to see it in person and try it out.
Amezcua said that Hector’s has a special connection with the community of La Habra,
Many of their customers are from La Habra—some are even multi-generational customers.
“Most of our demographic are senior citizens, but as they move into nursing homes, they don’t need to buy furniture. But we do have multi-generational customers who come because their parents bought from us,” Meseck said.
Amezcua and Meseck said that their goals at Hector’s Furniture store is to provide a good product at a good price with personalized service.
One of the benefits of being located in La Habra is having faithful customers, according to Amezcua. He even shared that the police department occasionally stops by to “see how things are going.”
One way the Amezcuas give back to the community is by supporting the Sonora High School and the La Habra High School athletic teams annually.
“If we support anyone, they have to be here in La Habra,” Amezcua said.
The brothers enjoy working together, but try not to work each other “to death.”
They all get two days off every week to spend with their family.
Home delivery is offered to customers, but financing is no longer available.
Hector’s Furniture store is located at 341 E. Whittier Boulevard. They can be reached at (562) 691-2289.

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Local pitchers picked in MLB draft

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Local pitchers picked in MLB draft

Posted on 18 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Shanin Thomas
La Habra Journal

Staumont Teaser

Courtesy Ken Williams./Azusa Pacific University Feeling Royal: Former La Habra High School pitcher Josh Staumont was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the Major League Baseball Draft last week. Former Sonora pitcher Brandon Quintero was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th Round.

Only a small percentage of guys who play baseball will ever hear their name called during a professional sports draft. However, two of the names called in this year’s Major League Baseball draft were from the La Habra area.
La Habra Heights resident and former La Habra High standout  Josh Staumont was the 64th overall pick of the MLB draft on June 8 becoming the highest selected player in Azusa Pacific University baseball history.
“It was an incredible day, but it is only a stepping stone to the rest of my career,” Staumont said.
The 6-foot-2-inch junior was selected by the 2014 American League Champion Kansas City Royals in the second round of the draft.
Staumont, who graduated from La Habra in 2012, was scouted as a dominating, right-handed pitcher. He has reached speeds in the high 90s comfortably, while mixing in a nasty curveball and occasionally throwing a change-up.
Staumont’s record at Division II Azusa Pacific, is 13-8 with a 3.97 earned run average. He also puts up a record breaking 198 strikeouts in a two season stretch.
This past season, Staumont was ranked second in the country with 14.29 strikeouts and ranked fourth giving up only 4.72 hits per nine inning average.
Paul Caffrey, head coach of La Habra High School varsity baseball from 2008 – 2012, remembers Staumont as a “short, chunky kid,” he said.
Coach Caffrey placed Staumont on the freshman baseball team as a sophomore in hopes he would mature. After growing six to seven inches taller into his senior year of high school, Staumont was able to grow into his body, and more importantly, his potential, Caffrey explained.
Staumont noted that while his physical maturity was important, he needed to continue to grow as a player.
“As many people affiliated with the game know, your mental maturity becomes the most integral part of the game as you have to develop and hone the tools that you have been given,” Staumont said.
During his senior season at La Habra High School, scouts flocked to watch other team mates. Command has always been an issue with Staumont, however Coach Caffrey advised professional scouts “to take a chance on him,” he said.
Caffrey has followed Staumont’s career and believes he has one of the best arms in the country. He said the talent is there and with the time and focus of being a professional, Staumont can reach his full potential.
“He has always had the ability,” Coach Caffrey said. “He is really raw … just a thrower.”
From high school, Staumont decided to play at Biola University,  where in his freshman year, Staumont led the Golden State Athletic Conference with 109 strikeouts.
He transfered to APU his sophomore year  to follow current Azusa Pacific pitching coach John Verhoeven.
Head coach of Azusa Pacific baseball, Paul Svagdis, said Staumont was a great addition to the team.
Coach Svagdis watched the first day of the MLB draft with his 12- year-old son, he said. When the Royals took their turn during the first round, Coach Svagdis told his son, “I think this is the team that is going to take him [Staumont].” He was right and he believes they will be a great fit for Staumont.
“Josh is a humble young man for a guy with such potential as a baseball player,” Svagdis said.
The Royals completed day one of the MLB draft by selecting three right-handed pitchers. Staumont was the last of the three to be chosen.
Staumont said he is “incredibly fortunate for being taken into a great organization such as the Kansas City Royals.”
He knows it is now the time to move his game to the next level, and he explained that he is ready.
“Each and every day I am trying to beat what I did the day before,” Staumont said. “I don’t compare myself to others as I am not trying to be like them, I will push to be the best version of me each and every day.”

Brandon Quintero
Former Sonora and current Cal State Los Angeles pitcher Brandon Quintero was selected in the 16th Round by the Chicago White Sox.
Raider Baseball Head Coach remembers the standout right hander for his tenacity.
“The thing that separates him is his competitiveness,” Tellers said. “When we were in the playoffs he always wanted the ball.”
Tellers explained that Quintero was being scouted as early as his junior year in 2011.
Quintero was named Pitcher of the Year twice for the Raiders and twice earned first-team All-Freeway League honors.
Quintero lead Cal State LA in wins for the last two years.  He also lead the team in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts.
“He knows what it’s going to take, he’s a straight arrow kid,” Tellers added.  “As long as he listens to his coaches he’s got a good future ahead of him.”

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Lady Highlanders battle but fall short

Posted on 04 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Highlanders softball team lost in a 1-0 heartbreaker that went 12 innings.
Highlanders’ Janelle Rodriguez stepped to the circle to face division one recruit Meehra Nelson’s Westlake Warriors in the first round of CIF playoffs.
The two pitchers looked dominant from the start, setting the stage for this marathon match.
“It’s two quality pitchers, getting after it, it’s mano a mano, and those are the games you play for,” Westlake head coach John Ashley said.
“Anything for your team, you’ll do,” Rodriguez said about pitching into the 12th inning.
But as the innings added up one pitcher seemed unfazed while the other showed signs of fatigue.
“It’s fine right now, I could probably go a couple more,” Nelson said about the strength of her arm.
Janelle Rodriguez faltered first in the 12th inning, after she gave up a one out single.
Abbey Hayes reached with a single. Rodriguez then threw a pitch that slipped inside to hit Morgan Melito on the leg, and walked Sarah Ho to load the bases.
“In that last inning, I don’t know, everything just overcame me, the 12th inning, zero zero ballgame, just nervous,” Rodriguez said.
Westlake, (20-9), remained patient and drew a second walk to bring in the winning run.
“It was a battle of attrition,” Ashley said. “The first team to make a mistake, first pitcher to gas, that’s the team that will probably end up losing the game.”
The Highlanders kept their hopes alive when Rodriguez made Nelson ground back to her. Rodriguez fielded the ground ball quickly cutting down the runner at the plate, then Nikki Butler caught Ho slightly off third, and was tagged out by Amanda Akles.
“We just happened to get lucky at the end, she ran out of gas, and the zone got a little smaller, and we got a run out of it,” Ashley said.
The Highlanders were unable to generate any offense against Nelson as she collected her 23rd strikeout of the day.
“She put it in the right spots, and she made our batters guess, I think we got a little too much in our head,” Gomez said.
The Warriors decided to rest Nelson in preparation for this game with the expectation she would need to carry them.
“She’s the beginning and the end for us, we win and lose with her,” Ashley said about Nelson, “this kid has the mentality, has the edge, has the metal to get that done.”
At one point, Ashley pinch hit for Nelson, just to give her a few extra minutes to rest.
The Highlanders stranded multiple runners in scoring position but Nelson had a knack for striking out batters at the most important times.
“Both teams were fighters, and we fought till what, 12 innings,” Gomez said.
Amanda Akles nearly broke up the tie early with a shot to left, but the ball curled foul just before it reached the fence.
In the ninth inning, two Highlanders hit long fly balls out to center field, neither were able to find grass.
In the 11th inning, Rodriguez drove a pitch to the left field gap after she fouled a pitch off of her foot.
Rodriguez was held at first with two outs, but was left there after Butler struck out looking.
Rodriguez had a stellar afternoon holding the Warriors to just the one run with 14 strikeouts.
“She was determined and she was ready to pitch an awesome game, and that’s exactly what she did,” Gomez said.
“I actually loved seeing them trying to hit the ball and seeing the strikeouts, playing against them was just awesome,” Rodriguez said.
For the Highlanders, who finished 19-9, it’s a tough way to end after contending for a league title and getting knocked out in the first round, but they return 12 of 16 varsity players.
In their starting lineup against Westlake were three seniors, four juniors, one sophomore, and one freshman, with a sophomore designated player.
“I want to just kill a team in the first round, and then just, I want it to happen, next year,” Rodriguez said.

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Serrano stops Raiders title quest

Serrano stops Raiders title quest

Posted on 04 June 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The Sonora baseball team’s playoff run came to an end against Serrano on Friday afternoon falling 4-0.
The Raiders offense faltered against one of the top pitchers in the division, RJ Peace who threw 11 strikeouts without giving up a run on three hits.LHJ SHS vs Serrano base CIF quarterfinals
“I’m feeling really good, I could have gone out there and thrown a couple more innings,” Peace said.
Peace seemed to get stronger as the game went on, and struck out the side in the seventh inning.
“I took a deep breath in that last inning, and just went after them,” Peace said.
Peace got his team started with a leadoff double in the first inning and eventually came around to score.
Meanwhile, Peace kept the Raiders off the bases, with no runner advancing past second base.
In the first inning, Eli Villalobos reached first on a hit by pitch, but once he reached second, the Raiders next two batters were sent down.
“You need your three, four guys to produce, and we didn’t get any production,” head coach Pat Tellers said, “tip my hat off to (Peace), he’s good.”
For Sonora, JP Sarro took the mound but was getting hit hard early.
In the third inning, with runners on first and second and one out, the Raiders missed a chance to escape without any damage.
A hard grounder was hit to second baseman Matt Schmidt who bobbled the ball loading the bases.
Austin Taylor followed the error with a 2 RBI single to right. The Diamondback’s fourth run scored on a sacrifice fly from Saxon Andross.LHJ SHS vs Serrano base CIF quarterfinals
“They didn’t make mistakes and we did, they had the pitching, they had the offense and they had the defense, they do three things right, and we maybe had one and a half,” Tellers said.
Sarro was able to get one out in the fourth before being replaced by Dylan Villalobos who was able to keep the Diamondbacks off  the scoreboard.
Despite Villalobos’ pitching effort, the Raiders were unable to find an answer against Peace.
“We’re not going to be able to power the ball out of the field with these long swings, you’ve got to stay short and compact, you’ve got to try to be quick to the ball,” Tellers said.
The Raiders will expect a new roster with 11 players graduating.
The success that Tellers has seen from Villalobos will be a building block moving forward, along with a handful of other bright spots.
“As a sophomore, we’re looking highly on him to be possibly our number one starter next year,” Tellers said about Villalobos.
The Raiders outfield should look very similar with Junior Jason Clayton and Sophomore Wilem Drozdowski having successful ends to their season. Clayton began to flash his premium athleticism as the season progressed and Drozdowski’s bat was heating up.
Chandler Koontz continued to show off his defensive skills down the stretch, including a leaping grab in left field which saved extra bases against Serrano.LHJ SHS vs Serrano base CIF quarterfinals
“Kootz’ play in the outfield kind of saved us, if he doesn’t make that play and it’s seven to nothing and it doesn’t look good,” Tellers said about Kootz’ bases loaded catch.
With this season in the books, and next season on the horizon, the Raiders focus remains on winning league titles. That goal will be tough as La Habra, Sunny Hills, and Troy are expected to be very similar.
“We always shoot for a league title and 20 wins, and we got that,” Tellers said. “We got to the quarters, we just didn’t have it to get to the semis.”

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