Sports

Lady Highlanders win big over Arroyo Grande

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The La Habra softball team broke a scoreless tie with a decisive six-run fourth inning to pull ahead of Arroyo Grande for good on Thursday afternoon, advancing the Lady Highlanders to the second round of the CIF playoffs.

Left fielder Kira Cauley prevents Arroyo from getting on the scoreboard with a running grab in the first inning on Thursday.
Left fielder Kira Cauley prevents Arroyo from getting on the scoreboard with a running grab in the first inning on Thursday.

La Habra sealed the victory in the sixth inning. Kira Cauley, who narrowly missed a home run earlier in the game, came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a walkoff grand slam, forcing the umpires to call an end to the game with the Lady Highlanders ahead 10-0.

“I honestly thought it bounced over the fence, that’s why I stopped at second,” Cauley said.

Cauley credited everybody for talking to each other after every at bat and sharing what pitches they were seeing.

“The rise ball was what she was throwing and once we learned to stay off of that, we started picking it up,” she said.

Hannah Johnson started in the circle for La Habra, pitching her second consecutive complete game shutout. Johnson finished with six strikeouts.

Arroyo threatened a couple times early on, but couldn’t convert. The Eagles best opportunity to score came in the third inning.

After back to back singles Arroyo had runners on the corners with one out. Kacie Bulger hit a shot to the right field, but Frankie Mendoza made the catch near the fence and doubled up the lead runner at third, who left on contact, to end the rally.

Johnson didn’t allow a runner into scoring position the rest of the way. She said that after the third inning, she got comfortable, especially after her offense backed her with six runs in the fourth.

Arroyo starting pitcher Julie Lewis threw the ball hard and looked good early, but in the third inning La Habra began catching up with her velocity.

La Habra's Hannah Johnson delivers a fastball against Arroyo Grande during La Habra's 10-0 shutout victory in the opening round of CIF Thursday.
La Habra’s Hannah Johnson delivers a fastball against Arroyo Grande during La Habra’s 10-0 shutout victory in the opening round of CIF Thursday.

Alyssa Palacios finished the game with a double and two singles in three at bats.

“After everybody had their at bat, we would all come in the dugout and tell everybody what [Lewis] was pitching, and that’s the reason I got on base,” Palacios said.

La Habra Head Coach Steve Harrington said afterwards that he was really impressed at how well his team communicated with each other in the dugout, especially in how detailed they were.

La Habra (27-1) will travel to Redlands to take on Redlands East Valley High School (17-9) in the second round on Tuesday. Redlands defeated Canyon Springs 7-6 in nine innings yesterday to advance.

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