Archive | May, 2017

Lady Highlanders mash their way past YL into round two of CIF

Lady Highlanders mash their way past YL into round two of CIF

Posted on 19 May 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The La Habra softball team hit the ball hard for six innings to beat the feisty Yorba Linda Mustangs 9-3 despite trailing early.

The Mustangs struck first with a stolen base, a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt book ended by a pair of singles to take a 1-0 in the top of the first inning.

“They came out enthusiastic and if I’m them, that’s the only way to stay in the ballgame,” said La Habra head coach Steve Harrington.

La Habra came out driving the ball well, but Yorba Linda made a couple nice plays defensively to keep the Lady Highlanders of the base paths in the bottom half of the inning.

“Our kids remained poised and in our first inning we were just mashing the ball,” Harrington said. “I told these kids ‘do not to push the panic button,’ because the way we were hitting the ball, it was going to start landing somewhere and we were hitting the ball very, very hard, so it didn’t matter the fact that we were down 1-0, that was in my opinion really not a factor at all.”

It didn’t take long before the ball started landing in gaps, and beyond. The Lady Highlanders got a single from Janelle Rodriguez in the second. Then Anissa Alatorre followed with a two-run shot to left field that cleared both fences.

Yorba Linda answered right back the next inning with some more small ball. Sierra Buerle singled and Rae Machurski moved her over with another well placed sacrifice bunt. Then Kindy Favata hit a dribbler and beat the throw to first to tie the game at 2-2.

Alyssa Palacios gave La Habra the lead back again in the bottom half of the inning with bases loaded single that scored a pair to make it 4-2 after three innings.

Yorba Linda would add one more run to tighten the gap, but Palacios and the Lady Highlanders offense weren’t done. The La Habra first baseman doubled in a pair of runs in the fifth, then punctuated the victory with a two-run home in the sixth to make it 9-3.

“I felt like I had the perfect rhythm going and knew if I just got a base hit, that it would do the job,” Palacios said. “I didn’t really swing that hard, it just hit the spot and went.”

Palacios lead the way for La Habra with a double and a home run on three hits with five RBI’s.

“I think we knew there was a lot of game left and coach Steve tells us all the time that teams are going to play their best games against us,” Palacios said. “I knew if I did my job, my teammates would do theirs.”

Yorba Linda finished the season at 17-8. Yorba Linda head coach Sharon Farrell is a La Habra resident and has been Mustangs only coach since the school opened. She has a combined record of 107-59 since 2011. The Mustangs have had a winning record every season and finished 24-4 in 2013, when they lost in the CIF Semifinals to Santiago.

“The girls came to play, we were executing in the beginning and really we were there for five innings, but there were a few little pressure errors and it turned it,” Farrell said. “[La Habra] is a great team and good luck to them, we had a great season it just didn’t happen for us today.”

With La Habra moving up to Division 1 this season, every game the rest of the way will be a battle between two of the top teams in the State.

The Lady Highlanders (21-7) will travel to Corona to play Santiago in the second round of the CIF Division 1 Playoffs on Tuesday. Santiago (22-6) is a strong team, currently ranked in the top-10 in CA. The Sharks defeated Yucaipa 6-3 in their opening round matchup on Thursday.

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Lady Highlanders shutout Sunny Hills to win second straight title

Lady Highlanders shutout Sunny Hills to win second straight title

Posted on 12 May 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Hannah Johnson pitched a two-hit shutout to help the Lady Highlanders win the Freeway League title Friday.

Behind Hannah Johnson’s complete game, two-hit shutout, La Habra avenged its lone Freeway League loss with a 6-0 victory at Sunny Hills Thursday afternoon.

In two seasons under head coach Steve Harrington the La Habra softball team has lost just one Freeway League contest. The only blemish came two weeks ago, a 16-4 loss at the hands of the Lancers.

That loss was fresh in the minds of Harrington and the Lady Highlanders. It was especially important for the seniors to cap their final regular season game with a victory.

Senior center fielder Kira Cauley admitted she felt the added pressure to punctuate her final Freeway League game with a victory.

“All day I was kinda nervous for this game,” Cauley said. “This [game] was really important, especially after freshman year being co-champs with them, sophomore year co-champs then last year winning, there was really an expectation to win and prove our senior class was just as good as last year’s.”

Cauley set the tone defensively right away in the bottom of the first. After cutting off what appeared to be a double into the gap to hold Ashley Moss to a long single, Cauley secured the final two outs in center to stave off a potential early Lancer rally.

The Lady Highlanders got the scoring started in the second inning. Savannah Tourville doubled to open the inning and Anissa Alatorre followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Tourville came home shortly after on a wild pitch.

Up 3-0 La Habra doubled their run total with a three-run fifth inning. After a couple well executed squeeze plays, Alatorre came up with a big RBI double to make it 6-0.

Alatorre lead La Habra with three hits and an RBI. In addition to her great defensive work, Cauley had two RBI’s on the afternoon.

That was more than enough for Johnson, who was masterful all afternoon. The Lady Highlanders’ ace retired the final 12 Lancers she faced, allowed just two hits and struck out five.

“She is usually on, but today she was hitting her spots like crazy,” Cauley said. “Hannah really threw a hell of a game today.”

Harrington praised catcher Alyssa Rios’ work behind the plate. After perhaps the best catcher in the history of La Habra softball, Nikki Butler moved on to become a First Team All-WAC player as a freshman at New Mexico State this season, Rios certainly had some pretty big shoes to fill this season.

“I’m telling you, that girl called the game of her life, I could not have called a better game than she did,” Harrington said. “She was probably the dark horse in this particular outcome, she was the one who got Hannah going today.”

The Lady Highlanders(9-1) finish with their second straight Freeway League title and will enter their first CIF Playoffs in Division 1 next week. The pairings will be announced Monday, with their first round game most likely coming on Thursday.

“How could you not want to be in my shoes, these kids are phenomenal, and they’re such classy kids,” Harrington added.

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Lady Highlanders crush Coyotes on Senior Day

Lady Highlanders crush Coyotes on Senior Day

Posted on 05 May 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

By Miguel Pola. La Habra coach Steve Harrington talks with the players during an earlier game this season. The Lady Highlanders crushed Buena Park 27-0 Thursday.

The seniors on the La Habra softball team ended their final home game with an exclamatory 27-0 victory over Buena Park on Thursday afternoon.

“It’s kinda sad because it goes by so fast, they tell you that it goes by fast but now we’re here on Senior Day and it’s just mind blowing,” senior centerfielder Kira Cauley said. “It was good to take in knowing that every last pitch counts because this will be the last time we take the field together and being in the box knowing that every at bat could be the last.”

Cauley got the offensive outburst going with a leadoff double and came around to score to put La Habra up 1-0 after one inning.

Senior starting pitcher Hannah Johnson was dominant in the circle, retiring nine straight Coyote batters through three innings.

With a 4-0 lead heading to the bottom half of the third, La Habra’s offense exploded for a 13-run inning.

Senior Alyssa Palacios hit a homerun to deep center field to open the inning. The Lady Highlanders proceeded to bat around with four doubles and a second home run off the bat of another senior, Alexis Riley in the inning.

Johnson shut the Coyotes down again in the fourth and finished the game with a no-hitter intact, albeit through four innings of work. After his team posted another 10 runs in the fourth, La Habra coach Steve Harrington opted to get his other pitchers some work in the fifth.

“It’s meant a lot to me playing for La Habra, being a Highlander and playing with the team the last four years was a great experience.” Johnson said. “I’m going to miss how we were such a bonded team and everybody got along.”

With the score looking more like a one-sided football game at 27-0, the umpires called the game before La Habra could bat in the fifth.

Sophomore outfielder Frankie Valencia went 5-5 with three doubles and a triple and finished a home run shy of the cycle. In her final at bat, Valencia scorched a line drive down the left field line that landed five feet shy of the fence and bounced over for a ground rule double.

La Habra(7-1) is tied atop the Freeway League with Sunny Hills(7-1), whom they lost to a week ago. Wednesday at Sunny Hills the two teams will meetup one more time to decide who will be crowned league champs.

“They got us a good time, but the tell tale story will be what happens next [Wednesday] when we play them again,” Harrington said. “I firmly believe our kids are very well prepared for it, they want to do really well.”

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