Lady Raiders rejoin top ranks in Freeway League with big win over Buena Park
by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal
The Sonora softball team kept their hopes of a Freeway League championship alive with an 11-0 victory over Buena Park, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High.
The Raiders’ (13-10, 5-3) bats woke up in a big way as they clubbed four home runs in the game.
“I really liked our approach at the plate,” said Michelle Rodriguez, Sonora head coach. “I really wanted the girls to focus on sitting back on pitches and getting something to drive. They did a really good job of that today.”
Due to the ten-run mercy rule, the Lady Raiders finished off the Coyotes on Mekenzie Lombardo’s two-run home run to center field. Lombardo was 2-2 with two runs and two RBI.
The Coyotes kept the Raiders quiet for the first two innings but the floodgates opened starting in the third inning. Leandra Jew started things off with a walk. She then stole second and came home on a single by Zoe Juarez. Shortly thereafter, Juarez stole second and came home on another single by Katie Amaral.
Chelsea Purcell launched a two-run bomb to left field to make the lead 4-0.
Sonora added another run in the bottom of the fourth inning on a leadoff home run by Madison Gimpl.
The Raiders expanded on their 5-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth with three more runs. Taylor Clark, Emily Hauke and Mena Aguilar all picked up a RBI hit in the inning.
Sonora headed into the bottom of the sixth needing two runs for the mercy, and they got three runs on three pitches. Amaral led off the inning with a home run to center field, Purcell followed her with an infield single before Lombardo’s home run, which acted as a walkoff hit.
The Raiders got two solid pitching performances. Samantha Casanas started the game and went three innings while only giving up two hits and striking out two batters. Cristina Garcia came in and pitched the last three with three hits and two strikeouts.
“Sam looked a little tired today and that is why we took her out,” Rodriguez said. “She pitched nine innings in our last game so we did not want to get her sore. Garcia came in and closed the door for us.”
Sonora now sits in a four-way tie atop the Freeway League standings with Sunny Hills, Fullerton and La Habra. All four are 5-3.
“We are not too worried about the standings,” Rodriguez said. “All we are focusing on now is beating La Habra on Tuesday. They are our big rivals. We have said from the beginning that our goals this year were to beat La Habra and to make the playoffs.”