Sports

La Habra maintains tie for league lead with big win over rival Sonora

Taylor Pierce watches the flight of the ball after connecting for a home run in the first inning of the Lady Highlanders' 10-0 win over Sonora, Thursday afternoon at La Habra High.
Taylor Pierce watches the flight of the ball after making contact during the Lady Highlanders’ 10-0 win over Sonora, Thursday afternoon at La Habra High. Pierce homered in the first inning and hit an RBI-single later in the ball game. Photos by Jay Seidel, La Habra Journal

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

The La Habra softball team enhanced their chances of a Freeway League championship with a 10-0 win over cross-town rival Sonora in six innings, Tuesday at La Habra High.

Heading into the game, both teams were in a four-way tie for first place in the league with two games remaining. The Lady Highlanders remain tied for first with a 6-3 record and the Lady Raiders fall back to 5-4.

La Habra (17-10, 6-3) jumped out to an early lead with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning by Taylor Pierce. After a leadoff walk to Jayanna Perez, Pierce hit a deep fly ball to left field that bounced off Taylor Clark’s glove and over the fence.

“That play was tough for us,” Sonora head coach Michelle Rodriguez said. “That was a ball that could have been caught and since we kept La Habra quiet for a good part of the game, it could have been 0-0 in the fifth inning.”

Sonora (13-11, 5-4) failed to execute offensively throughout the game. In the first, second and fourth innings they had runners in scoring position and failed to capitalize. In the first inning the Raiders had runners on second and third base with one out.

Chelsea Purcell grounded out to the shortstop to bring up Audrey Castro with two outs. Castro hit a line drive to second base but Hope Moreno laid out to make a diving stop and throw to first base for the third out.

In the second inning, Taylor Clark led off the inning with a triple but Emily Hauke’s bunt attempt was too firm and Clark was thrown out at home.

“Our offense failed to execute and we did not put runs on the board,” Rodriguez said. “It does not matter how many runs they score. If we do not score then we don’t have any chance at all to win the game.”

Samantha Casanas started the game for the Lady Raiders and kept La Habra quiet after the home run until the fifth inning.

Pierce came up with runners on first and second base and ripped an RBI-single into center field.

“That was a big win for us, especially on Senior Day,” Pierce said. “We knew we needed a win over our rivals to stay in the race for the Freeway League. For our bats to come out and do this for us today was awesome.”

Sonora's Chelsea Purcell throws home in an attempt to prevent a La Habra run from crossing the plate during the Lady Raiders 10-0 loss to La Habra, Thursday afternoon on the road.
Sonora’s Chelsea Purcell throws home in an attempt to prevent a La Habra run from crossing the plate during the Lady Raiders 10-0 loss to La Habra, Thursday afternoon on the road.

Two more singles led to three more runs and the Lady Highlanders had a 6-0 lead after five innings. Casanas was pulled after the fifth inning.

In her five innings, she gave up five runs on eight hits, with one walk and two strikeouts.

La Habra added four more runs in the sixth to come out with a win due to the mercy rule. Its starting pitcher, Janelle Rodriguez pitched the full six innings with no runs on three hits and two walks. She struck out six batters.

“We put ourselves in a good position today,” said La Habra head coach Frank McCarroll. “We can’t worry about the other teams. If we beat Buena Park, then we at least tie for first and that is all you can ask for.”

Sonora will end their league season with a tough matchup against Sunny Hills, Thursday afternoon at home.

“That game is our season,” Rodriguez said. “I told the girls that it us up to them. If they do not want our season to end Thursday then they will come out to play.”

The Lady Highlanders will take on the last place Buena Park Coyotes, Thursday on the road, for a share of their sixth consecutive Freeway League crown.

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