Sports

La Habra can’t overcome early trouble, falls to Troy

La Habra's Robert Leffler (shown against Los Altos) escaped early trouble and threw a complete game, but the Highlanders were shutout by Troy's Brett Boller in a 3-0 loss, Friday afternoon at home.
La Habra’s Robert Leffler (shown against Los Altos) escaped early trouble and threw a complete game, but the Highlanders were shutout by Troy’s Brett Boller in a 3-0 loss, Friday afternoon at home.

by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

La Habra baseball’s starting pitcher Robert Leffler pitched a complete game, but was outdueled by Troy pitcher Brett Boller in a 3-0 loss to the Warriors, Friday afternoon at La Habra High.

What separated the two starting pitchers was a strong start. Leffler fell into an early jam, which led to two runs in the first inning.

From there, Troy’s Boller kept the La Habra offense at bay, scattering five base hits in a complete game shutout.

A single, walk and a catcher’s interference had the Warriors in business early. They pushed across two runs before Leffler settled in.

“I thought he settled down after the first three hitters and did a good job putting the ball in play,” said John Sothern, La Habra head coach.

Leffler appeared to be a completely different pitcher from then on with a one-two-three second inning and finished his day with six innings of one run baseball.

“He was competitive, 80 pitches in seven innings, for the most part he pitched like our No. 1 pitcher today,” Sothern said.

With the loss, the Highlanders fall to 5-5 in league play and 0-2 against Troy.

The Highlanders will visit Troy on Monday in a make-up game after Wednesday’s game was cancelled due to poor air quality.

The Highlanders struggled to string together hits off of Boller who utilized a curveball and good location of his pitches.

“It’s a matter of not making adjustments,” Sothern said. “Their pitcher’s not throwing hard, and instead of us just letting the ball travel and using the entire field, we’re seeing these pitches that are hittable, or maybe just out of the zone, and trying to do too much with it. When you try and do that, you’re not going to get the results you want.”

The Highlanders did begin to find success in the fifth inning. Kyle Schuh laid down a bunt-single with one out in the inning.

Chris Nuanes followed Schuh with a double to the gap on a liner over the second baseman’s head.

The Warriors huddled at the mound before setting down the next two batters on a lineout and a flyout to escape without any further damage.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Brad Hoffrichter reached third base on a fly ball, which the Troy right fielder lost in the sunlight.

Jake Tourville came in to pinch hit but lined out to end the inning.

Again with one out, Schuh came up in the seventh inning and singled up the middle. Schuh showed great plate discipline reaching first base with two strikes.

“He’s had good at bats, he’s done good things he just doesn’t have the average to show for it but it was nice to see him today,” Sothern said. “He lays down that bunt, beats it out, then he ends up with the two strike single up the middle, something we preach all the time, so I was very happy to see that from him today.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.