Raiders shut out La Habra, extend win streak to 13 games
by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal
Sonora pitching threw yet another shutout as the baseball team earned a 5-0 victory and a three-game sweep over the La Habra Highlanders, Friday afternoon at Sonora High.
It was their sixth shutout in 13 league games. Overall, the Raiders’ pitching and defense have allowed just 11 runs total in Freeway League play.
The Raiders had already clinched the Freeway League before the game started but did not come out looking complacent.
The bats showed up from the get-go and managed two runs in the first inning. In the inning, Sonora’s first two batters reached before Jake Rosander bunted them both into scoring position.
“We have been executing really well lately,” said Pat Tellers, Sonora head coach. “That is why we have been winning games. When you can trust your number three hitter to bunt guys into second and third the game gets easier to manage.”
Jose Gomez and Gabe Armstrong chipped in with back-to-back RBI singles.
Armstrong was also the pitcher for the Raiders on the day and pitched a complete game shutout, allowing four hits and two walks while collecting eight strikeouts.
“I thought I pitched well today,” Armstrong said. “I got myself into some trouble at some points, but all-in-all I knew I was hitting my spots.”
The Highlanders (11-14, 5-8) did threaten in the fourth inning. They had runners on second and third with no outs, but Armstrong struck out Brad Hoffrichter before issuing a walk to Kyle Schuh to load the bases with one out.
Armstrong then struck out David Calderon and Isaiah Gonzalez to get out of the inning.
“We had some pretty good chances but we did not execute,” said John Sothern, La Habra head coach. “We are not playing like we did earlier in the year, we’re missing some good opportunities.”
The Raiders (18-6-1, 13-0) added two more runs in the fourth inning on an RBI triple by Gavin Blodgett and an RBI sacrifice fly by Andrew Piraino.
They finished off the scoring in the sixth with an RBI groundout by Evan Sonny.
Robert Leffler was on the mound for the Highlanders, pitching five innings and allowing five runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
“Robert just did not have his best stuff today,” Sothern said. “He battled well though and did not pitch himself out of the game.
With two games remaining in league play, Sonora and La Habra find themselves in very different predicaments.
Sonora is 13-0 in league and are only playing for playoff seeding.
“We already have the league clinched,” Tellers said. “But you want to go into the playoffs on a winning streak and this team had a goal to go 15-0 so they want to reach it.”
La Habra sits at 5-8 in league and needs to sweep Buena Park along with some help from other parts of the league.
“It is that simple, every game is important,” Sothern said. “We need to beat Buena Park both times and we need Troy to sweep Fullerton.”
The Highlanders will take on Buena Park on the road and Sonora will host Sunny Hills, Tuesday afternoon.