Late rally not enough as Lady Highlanders fall to Fullerton
by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal
A late rally for the La Habra softball team was not enough as they dropped into a tie for first place, with a 4-3 loss to Fullerton, Thursday afternoon at La Habra High.
The Lady Highlanders headed into the fifth inning down 4-0 and hadn’t had much working offensively. After finally piecing a couple of hits together, La Habra was threatening for the first time. Sophomore Jayanna Perez drove in a run with a single to left field to put La Habra on the board.
“We finally broke through in the fifth,” said La Habra head coach Frank McCarroll. “The girls started to get some big hits late, but the key word there is late.”
The biggest threat came in the sixth inning. After a lead-off single, Amanda Akles came up and drove a two-run home run to deep left field. The home run cut the deficit to 4-3. Akles also committed the last out of the game on a ground out to second base.
“Amanda gave us a big swing there,” McCarroll said. “It would have been great if she did it again in the seventh, but overall we failed to execute late.”
The big difference for La Habra was the pitching performances. Taylor Pierce started the game and was pulled after giving up four runs in three-and-one-thirds innings. The senior was replaced by freshman Janelle Rodriguez.
Rodriguez started things off by giving up an infield single. The next batter grounded into an inning-ending double play. Rodriguez then went on to retire the last nine Fullerton hitters she faced and gave her team a chance to stay in the game.
“I thought Janelle pitched great for us today,” McCarroll said. “She has been doing that all year and it was good to see her come in and shut them down when we needed her to.”
Now at 4-2, the Lady Highlanders (15-9, 4-2) are now tied with Sonora and Fullerton (13-11, 4-2) for first place with four games remaining and will continue Freeway League play, Tuesday, at Sunny Hills.
“Since we are tied for now, we are looking at it as a four-game season,” McCarroll said. “When your season is only four games it is important to pick up wins in as many of those games as possible.”