Tag Archive | "freeway league"

Lady Highlanders look for redemption

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Lady Highlanders look for redemption

Posted on 10 March 2017 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

Unfinished business. That’s exactly what the Lady Highlanders softball team has collectively had on their minds since a crushing loss in the 2016 CIF semifinals derailed La Habra’s championship bid and snapped their school record 26-game winning streak.

Photo courtesy Paula Luna
Ready for the season: The Lady Highlander softball team looks to continue where they finished last year by recapturing the league title and competing for a CIF title. With a number of seniors and returning players, La Habra looks to improve on its 29-2 record from last year.

Despite ending on a sour note, the Lady Highlanders finished with a 29-2 record and have plenty to be optimistic about in 2017. The girls finished a perfect 10-0 in league and will be returning all but three starting position players.
First and foremost, they return a pair of aces in the circle. Seniors Hannah Johnson and Janelle Rodriguez might be the best pitching tandem in the county. Both girls are coming off back-to-back dominant seasons. According to head coach Steve Harrington, Rodriguez is back at full strength after suffering through a shoulder injury late last season.
La Habra will also have All-CIF outfielder Kira Cauley back to spark the offense again. Cauley is a legitimate five-tool talent. In addition, seniors Billie Jean Wells, Alyssa Palacios and Alyssa Rios are all returning starters and major contributors from last season.
La Habra will have some big shoes to fill at a couple key positions though.
Shortstop Frankie Mendoza and catcher Nikki Butler both moved on to play collegiately. Last year’s captains were heart of the order batters and equally valuable on the defensive end. That said, replacing their leadership could prove to be the most difficult hurdle this year.
Although the Lady Highlanders lost a few key starters from a year ago, they are still far and away the favorite to win another Freeway League title.

Photo courtesy Paula Luna Sparking the offense: All-CIF Outfielder Kira Cauley is one of the many seniors that look to help lead the Lady Highlanders this season. La Habra is looking to recapture the league title and run for CIF title.

Sonora (13-11, 6-4) finished in second, while Sunny Hills (16-10, 5-5) and Fullerton (18-12, 5-5) were right behind.
The Raiders are lead by senior captain Claudia Kim, who pitches and plays middle-infield for Sonora.
Harrington is excited about having a lot of returning players and believes a couple girls stepping up from the junior varsity team, as well as a couple freshman will make significant contributions right away.
“A beautiful surprise this year, has been Alexis Riley,” Harrington said.
Riley is a senior, but played junior varsity last season. Harrington admitted her talent has always been there, but praised her on her maturity during the offseason.
La Habra’s success during Harrington’s first season at the helm didn’t go unnoticed. The Lady Highlanders were bumped up to a Division 1 team this year for the first time in school history.
“I don’t care what division we’re in, I’ve been in that division,” Harrington said. “I’ve been down that road many times, heck last year’s team beat the Division 1 champion.”
Harrington added a gauntlet of tough out of league games to the schedule this year to better prepare the girls for the rigors of CIF. After getting his first full offseason with his team, Harrington believes they have what it takes to beat anybody regardless of division.
“This is a tight knit group,” he concluded, “and in my experience, the tighter the group the better the team.

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Coyotes bring Highlanders streak to halt with big second half

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Coyotes bring Highlanders streak to halt with big second half

Posted on 22 October 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

The Buena Park High School football team had been steadily climbing the ranks the past six seasons under Head Coach Anthony White, but one task had still bedeviled the Coyotes—unseating La Habra as the team to beat in the Freeway League, until Friday night.

By Miguel Pola/La Habra Journal La Habra's Senior Eli Anderson scores from 2 yards out with 3 min left in the first half. La Habra HS leads 13-0 at the half.

By Miguel Pola/La Habra Journal
La Habra’s Senior Eli Anderson scores from 2 yards out with 3 min left in the first half. La Habra HS leads 13-0 at the half.

Heading to the locker room down 13-0 at the half, it appeared the Coyotes were once again going to be disappointed. However, Buena Park exploded for four unanswered scores in the second half to end the Highlanders league winning streak at 47 with a 27-13 victory at home.

“I got them fired up [at halftime] and told them to believe in the program, believe in the system and do your job,” White said. “I think everyone was trying to do too much wanting to make us win, so I told them to be accountable and just do your 1-of-11.”

The tides began to turn early in the third quarter.

Much like the first half, La Habra stuffed the Coyotes opening drive.

On the ensuing punt, returner Madison Wheeler got caught in between a couple Coyotes and the ball grazed his leg, allowing the coverage team to pounce on it.

“We made a mistake that was costly, we were beating them around and we stopped them at the half, it was our best player, what are you going to do, sometimes your best player does something that is uncharacteristic,” said Highlander Head Coach Frank Mazzotta. “I don’t know that there is any such thing as momentum though, good teams make more plays than the ones that lose and they made more plays than we did.”

After Wheeler broke up three consecutive passes near the goal line, Buena Park quarterback James Rafkin finally connected with A.J. Allen on a crucial fourth-and-long play to put the ball inside the 5 yard line. A couple plays later sophomore running back Jamiel Henning punched it in from a yard out to cut the lead in half.

The Coyotes took their first lead on the next possession when Allen made a picture perfect over the shoulder grab in the back of the end zone just before the end of the quarter.

By Miguel Pola/ La Habra Journal La Habra's senior Derrick Corso's interception sets up La Habra's 2nd and of the first half. — at Buena Park High School Football.

By Miguel Pola/ La Habra Journal La Habra’s senior Derrick Corso’s interception sets up La Habra’s 2nd and of the first half. — at Buena Park High School Football.

The dagger came early in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard catch-and-run by Henning, who caught the ball in the flat near the Highlander sideline, made a couple La Habra defenders miss, then accelerated and completely ran over the safety en route to his second score of the night.

Neither team moved the ball particularly well throughout most of the game.

La Habra got on the board in the second quarter on perhaps the catch of the night. Quarterback Zach Fogel lofted the ball to his favorite target, Prince Ross, who laid out to make the diving grab across the goal line for a 35-yard touchdown. Fogel’s only other completion to that point was a 36-yard pass to Eli Anderson, which set up the score

Anderson carried it in from the 1-yard-line to give the Highlanders a two score lead heading into the break. The touchdown was set up by cornerback Derrick Corso’s 42-yard interception return, that gave the Highlander offense the ball inside the 5.

Anderson showed off his hands late in the fourth, catching a pair of passes out of the backfield to set up a red zone opportunity for the Highlanders with about two minutes to play. However, Devon Cooley picked Fogel off in the end zone to dash any hopes of a late Highlander comeback.

The Coyote defense was stifling all night long. Their leading tackler, safety Niguy Simms was once again all over the field and came up with an interception in the fourth quarter that set up Buena Park’s final score.

“Defense is our motto, it’s what we live by,” White said. “I’m a defensive coach, the defensive coordinator and we have a great defensive staff, everyone takes accountability for their own positions, their own guys and everyone did their jobs tonight.”

Cedric Dashiell III entered the evening as one of the leading pass-rushers in Orange County with 11.5 sacks. Dashiell brought down Fogel five times on the night to add to his total.

Dashiell gave credit to his coaches and fellow defensive lineman for calling and executing stunts late in the game to free him up to closeout with three sacks on the Highlanders final drive.

The Highlanders (4-4, 2-1) will try to bounce back against Fullerton at home next Friday. The Coyotes (7-1, 3-0) will look to remain perfect in league when they take on Sunny Hills Friday at Spalding Stadium, although it will technically be an away game for them.

“We go back to work tomorrow, that’s 100 percent, we have to finish what we started,” White said.

Mazzotta added, “Nothing goes on forever, streaks were meant to be broken.”

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Highlanders wear down Warriors in Freeway League opener

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Highlanders wear down Warriors in Freeway League opener

Posted on 07 October 2016 by La Habra Journal

By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal

 

FULLERTON— Behind a efficient ground attack, La Habra began Freeway League play with a 24-10 victory over Troy on Friday night at Fullerton stadium.

Photo by Miguel Pola  La Habra quarterback Zack Fogel sprints toward the sidelines in the third quarter to gain a first down.

Photo by Miguel Pola
La Habra quarterback Zack Fogel sprints toward the sidelines in the third quarter to gain a first down.

The Highlanders opened the game just with a picture perfect 70-yard drive, capped by a Zach Fogel touchdown run from the 6-yard-line.

“I noticed that they were really chasing our athletes, so I told coach that I could find a lane and he gave me some chances.”

Eli Anderson had three runs of over 9 yards on the drive. Fogel connected with Prince Ross for 28 yards on the lone pass he attempted to set up the score.

“It’s a big confidence booster when you are getting eight or nine yards on first down carries,” Fogel said. “The coaches put together a great scheme, I give all the credit to the coaches and the offensive line tonight.”

The Warriors ground game appeared to be working on all cylinders as well the first couple offensive series against the stout Highlander defense, but both drives stalled out after costly penalties.

Troy managed to salvage a 28-yard field goal though, to make it 7-3 heading into the second quarter.

The Highlanders ran into similar fate on both second quarter possessions, taking it all the way down inside the 1-yard-line, before a false start on third-down forced a chip shot field goal.

Photo by Miguel Pola  La Habra Senior Eli Anderson scoots around the outside for a 12-yard gain.

Photo by Miguel Pola
La Habra Senior Eli Anderson scoots around the outside for a 12-yard gain. Anderson finished the night with 82 yards.

The Highlanders would get the ball right back after Derick Corso intercepted Josiah Norwood’s pass and returned it 33 yards to the Highlander 49-yard-line.

A couple penalties late in the ensuing drive caused La Habra to turn the ball over on downs and put up another score before the end of the half.

The Highlanders began second half with Madison Wheeler helming the pistol, but went nowhere and wound up giving Warriors great field position at the Highlander 49.

The Warriors capitalized a few plays later with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Norwood to Mikale Hill to bring them even 10-10.

La Habra responded on next series and pulled away for good.

Wheeler and Jakobah Fuamatu took turns carrying the ball inside, moving the drive all the way down inside the 10. Fogel finished the drive by connecting with Ross on a slant for a 9-yard touchdown.

The Highlanders added another score on a 2-yard run by Wheeler in the fourth quarter. Wheeler set up his touchdown when he took a fake punt 11 yards for a first down to keep the drive alive.

The Highlander defense locked down Troy’s offense the rest of the way to secure the two-score victory.

Corso had a standout defensive performance for the second consecutive game. He finished with an interception and batted down four more passes.

“[Corso] is one of the best at playing the ball in the air, he has a knack for it,” Head Coach Frank Mazzotta said.

Photo by Miguel Pola

Photo by Miguel Pola

“Preparation during the week really gives you confidence when you come out here, so you just have to be confident and know what you are doing, that’s really what it is,” Corso said.

La Habra pounded the ball inside with four different ball carriers, totaling 230 yards on the ground. Anderson dominated the first half carries and finished with 82 yards.

Mazzotta turned to Fuamatu and Wheeler to close out the game. Fuamatu didn’t have a carry in the first half, but finished with 54 yards. Most of which came in the final quarter. Wheeler finished with 51 yards and a touchdown.

The Warriors ran the ball well in stretches, but were unable to finish several drives due to penalties and a sporadic passing game. Norwood led the rushing attack for Troy with 54 yards. Skyler Taylor had 41 yards on the ground.

“We are inching our way into being a good football team, but we are not there yet,” Mazzotta said.

The Highlanders will look to make it three straight against cross town rival Sonora (0-6) at home next Friday.

 

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La Habra  hitting the links with first girls golf team

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La Habra hitting the links with first girls golf team

Posted on 20 August 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Shanin Thomas
La Habra Journal

The La Habra High School Highlanders will field their first women’s golf team for the 2015 season.
Last year, La Habra High School created a women’s golf club in preparation of creating a competitive team for this upcoming fall season.

2015 LHHS Girls Golf Team

2015 LHHS Girls Golf Team

About 15 girls joined the club with little to no experience but lots of enthusiasm and interest.
Head Coach Cody Verdugo said that most of the girls had never played before. “Only three girls had golf clubs, but at least 10 took a liking to golf. I am very pleased with the growth we have seen,” he said.
The golf club at La Habra High School included instructions for the basics of the sport. Not only did the girls in the club learn to hit a plastic golf ball in the football stadium, Coach Verdugo also taught the girls golf etiquette.
“Golf is like an onion. There are layers to the sport. It is not just about hitting the golf ball,” Verdugo said.

Interest in girls golf has not only sparked at La Habra High School but in other Freeway League schools as well.
Fullerton, Sunny Hills and Buena Park have decided to field a girls golf team this season. They will join Troy, which already had a team in place.

Troy High School will be the most competitive women’s golf team this upcoming season because they previously fielded a girls’ golf team and have competitive returners.

Mandy Arriola finishes a swing during practice.  The lefty looks to help lead the Lady Highlanders during their inaugural season.

Mandy Arriola finishes a swing during practice. The lefty looks to help lead the Lady Highlanders during their inaugural season.

In fact, last season Troy’s women’s team ranked No. 1 in Orange County, No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section, and No. 5 in the state of California.

Preseason will begin in late August and league competition will start on Sept. 13.
For Verdugo, the decision to move from being on the coaching staff of La Habra Football to take up the challenge of starting a girls golf team was to follow his passion.

Verdugo fell in love with the sport of golf in his senior year of college at Chapman University. Although he has played football his entire life, golf has become a sport he has become passionate about.
Additionally, Verdugo’s son and three daughters have also taken a liking to the sport and participate competitively as golfers.

Coach Verdugo proved his coaching ability last season as the La Habra men’s golf team finished eighth in the Southern division, the best finish in the school’s history. The Whittier Daily News honored Verdugo as 2015 Coach of the Year.

The amount of money invested in women’s golf college scholarships is another reason Coach Verdugo has created a women’s golf team to accompany the men’s team.

Although the growth rate of participation of women has almost tripled men in the last few years, women still make up less than 25 percent of golfers, according to athleticscholarships.net.

According to scholarshipstats.com, in 2014 the number of male high school golfers is double the amount of female golfers. However, Division I universities offer six scholarships to female golfers as opposed to the four and a half to male golfers.

Alyssa Heidrich takes a swing during practice.

Alyssa Heidrich takes a swing during practice.

That growth rate was shown during the first day of La Habra’s women’s golf tryouts Wednesday afternoon at Westridge Golf Club.

Twelve returners from the golf club were present as well as eight additional girls. The additional girls who showed up at tryouts did not know much golf etiquette, but they were athletic, Coach Verdugo said.

“It would be rare for someone to show up and be completely ready,” Verdugo said.

Coach Verdugo is looking to field a team between 15 and 20 girls. Although only seven players compete in a match for both varsity and junior varsity, 20 girls is a good number to manage girls who are still developing their skills as golfers, he said.

“Returners will be the foundation of the varsity team,” Coach Verdugo said.

The Lady Highlanders hit the links for the first time on September 9 against Empire League champion Valencia at Alta Vista Country Club in Placentia at 4 p.m.

 

2015 Lady Highlander Golf Team Roster

Mandy Arriola
Alex Barber
Nikki Chamberlain
Kira Cauley
Alyssa Enriquez
Haylee Enriquez
Alyssa Heidrich
Aurora Heuermann
Charlotte Irirzarry
Samantha Parr
Janet Romero
Julia Sanchez
Jena Schuh
Dominique Tosunian
Galina Tressler
Frankie Valencia

LHJ LHHS Girls Golf 2015

Coach Cody Verdugo gets the team ready for its first season.

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Raiders bounce Indians

Posted on 09 February 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The Sonora Raiders battled with the Fullerton Indians before finally breaking through in the second half to secure a victory, winning 73-58.LHJ LHHS vs SHHS Girls Basketball 2015

The two teams were neck and neck after two quarters, with the Raiders leading 32-31.

The referees called an unusually tight game which forced both teams to spend more time shooting free throws than anything else.

“Those guys were calling a foul every possession, I thought it was the tightest of any game we’ve played in a couple of years, every touch was a foul, on both teams,” head coach Mike Murphy said.

Of the Raiders 32 first half points, half of them came from free throws, making 16-21. Fullerton meanwhile took 18 free throw shots and made 14 of them.

The Raiders struggled to shoot the ball, which made the free throws an ally for them to weather through their shooting slump.

“We haven’t been shooting the ball, I mean we can’t make shots, we finally started making shots in the second half and we were able to pull away,” Murphy said.

While the free throws kept the two teams close in terms of the scoreboard, there was a significant difference in bench depth. The Raiders carry 14 players compared to Fullerton’s 10.LHJ LHHS vs SHHS Girls Basketball 2015

The Raiders depth helped them survive foul trouble, while the Indians bench struggled as the game went longer.

Ben Rico had the hottest hand scoring 14 of his 24 points in the second half.

“He played his best defense that he’s played in a while, and he was really going after the ball, Murphy said, “I think that just got him fired up and the defense and the rebounding carried over into his offense and he had a nice game,” Murphy said.

Before the game, Rico was concerned with how his ankle would respond, but the it never appeared to be a factor.

“Once I got in the game, I think the adrenaline kicked in, I was feeling okay and totally forgot about it,” Rico said.

The third quarter was the best for the Raiders who outscored the Indians 26-12 to create an insurmountable gap.

“Some we come out as a team defending a little harder than others, but today I really made it my priority to play defense and guard my guy,” Rico said.

Josh Rodriguez finished the night with 20 points and 12-14 from the free throw line.LHJ LHHS vs SHHS Girls Basketball 2015

The Indians had a balanced scoring effort led by David Sandoval’s 11 points and 10 points from Gerritt Beetstra and Jacob Wirtzer.

Similar to the first game between Fullerton and Sonora, the game became very physical by the end.

Ashaad Womack left the first meeting with a dislocated knee, but played in his second game since returning from the injury.

“I told our guys, they do some things that shouldn’t be done, when you’re going to the basket and they’re pushing guys in the back, I just told our guys to keep their poise and just play through all of that,” Murphy said.

The Raiders will travel to Buena Park for their next game before finishing on Thursday against La Habra at home.

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Highlanders roll past Indians

Posted on 17 October 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

 

La Habra continued its Freeway League winning streak by beating Fullerton, 42-7, at home Friday night.

 

The Highlanders (4-3,2-0) came off a big win in their season opener against Buena Park with a goal of improving against Fullerton (3-4, 0-2).

 

“We wanted to keep pushing to get better,” said La Habra head coach Frank Mazzotta. “That’s all we try to do every week, get a little better and improve the things we had some trouble with and eventually you end up being a really good team.”

La Habra's Carlos Martin breaks to the outside.  Martin rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns Friday.

La Habra’s Carlos Martin breaks to the outside. Martin rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns Friday.

 

The spotlight was on the Highlanders’ offense, which scored five touchdowns in the first half.

 

La Habra’s offensive leaders again were Eric Barriere, who threw two touchdown passes, and Carlos Martin, who scored three touchdowns and rushed for 156 yards.

 

“We just wanted to go out there and do the same thing we did last week,” Barriere said. “We didn’t want to slow down, we wanted to keep on going. It was a really good win tonight. Everyone put in a good team effort to get the win.”

 

La Habra’s defense had a solid game a made some big plays to hold the Indians to only one touchdown.

 

The Highlanders’ defense held the Indians and forced them to punt on their first possession of the game.

 

La Habra started it off by making its way down the field and scored off a pass from Barriere to give the Highlanders the lead over Fullerton, 7-0.

La Habra Quarterback Eric Barriere looks for an open receiver.  He passed for two touchdowns Friday.

La Habra Quarterback Eric Barriere looks for an open receiver. He passed for two touchdowns Friday.

 

Minutes into the second quarter, Barriere faked a handoff and ran 12 yards into the end zone to put the Highlanders up 14-0.

 

Fullerton scored its first points of the game off a touchdown pass with a little over seven minutes remaining in the first half.

 

La Habra responded with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Barriere to Martin to advance their score to 28-7.

 

With less than 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Barriere connected his second touchdown pass of the night to Amon Fellows, advancing their lead to 35-7 going into halftime.

Rylie school Carnival 2014. Eastside Christian

“There’s always little minor adjustments that we try to make at halftime but no matter what the score is, the whole point is to try to get better,” Mazzotta said about his halftime speech.

 

Late in the third quarter Martin scored the final touchdown of the game off a 53-yard run into the end zone.

 

“They absolutely played the way I wanted them to,” Mazzotta said. “We’ve been playing the way I want them to play a lot. The mistakes are really starting to be cut down and that’s the important thing.”

 

La Habra will be at home again next week for their homecoming game against Sunny Hills on Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

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Highlanders hold off Coyotes in league opener

Posted on 11 October 2014 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah Fenton
La Habra Jourmal

Buena Park couldn’t stop La Habra’s Freeway League winning streak, as the Highlanders beat the Coyotes 42-35 on the road in their season opener Friday night.

La Habra's MikeWheeler takes down Buena Park quarterback Zach Taylor Friday during the Highlander's 42-35 victory.

La Habra’s MikeWheeler takes down Buena Park quarterback Zach Taylor Friday during the Highlander’s 42-35 victory.

 

The Highlanders haven’t lost a league game since 2006, but the Coyotes weren’t going down without a fight.

 

Being one of the biggest matchups of the season for both teams, this was the first time La Habra (3-3, 1-0) and Buena Park (5-1,0-1) played each other in a season opener.

 

“We’re 1-0 in the freeway league,” said La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzotta. “That was a 5-0 team and we got our first league victory. Coming off of a bye you never know, but I think the kids came out and performed well. I can’t argue with a league win.”

 

La Habra’s defense came out strong and forced Buena Park to punt on the first possession of the game.

 

The Highlanders made their way down the field and on fourth down quarterback Eric Barriere ran 22 yards, untouched, into the end zone. La Habra led 7-0 with less than 7 minutes remaining in the first quarter.

 

Seconds later, Buena Park responded with a 52-yard touchdown run from Marcus Loudon to tie the game at 7.

 

The game remained tied at 7 going into the second quarter.

 

Six seconds into the second quarter, La Habra’s Carlos Martin scored off an 11-yard run to regain the lead over Buena Park, 14-7.

La Habra running back Carlos Martin pushes through Buena Park defenders to score one of his four touchdowns Friday night.

La Habra running back Carlos Martin pushes through Buena Park defenders to score one of his four touchdowns Friday night.

 

Buena Park came back and tied it at 14, but La Habra fired back with a 74-yard touchdown run from Martin to regain the lead, 21-14.

 

The Highlanders’ defense forced the Coyotes to punt on their next possession. On third and 12 from their own 7-yard line, La Habra’s Barriere connected a pass to CJ Taylor who ran 92 yards into the end zone, giving them their biggest lead of the night.

 

La Habra’s two-touchdown lead didn’t last long. With a little over 20 second left in the first half, the Coyotes scored off a 5-yard pass from quarterback Zach Taylor.

 

La Habra led, 28-21, going into halftime.

 

“I think the defense had two key stops in the second half,” Mazzotta said about the turning point in the game. “We have to get stops on defense, that’s ultimately it.”

 

After stopping La Habra on its first possession of the third quarter, Buena Park scored once more to tie the game at 28.

 

With a few minutes remaining in the third quarter, La Habra was faced with a fourth and four on their own 44-yard line. After both teams took a timeout, a penalty was called against the Coyotes for illegal substitution, giving the Highlanders the first down on Buena Park’s 39-yard line.

 

With 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Highlanders scored off a run from Martin, giving them a 35-28 lead over Buena Park. La Habra carried that lead into the fourth quarter.

 

After a back-and-forth start to the fourth quarter, La Habra scored to regain its two-touchdown lead over Buena Park, 42-28.

 

With 53 seconds remaining, Buena Park scored the last touchdown of the game. The Coyotes’ attempt at an onside kick to regain possession of the ball didn’t work, giving La Habra its 36th consecutive league win.

 

Carlos Martin led the Highlanders with four touchdowns and 155 rushing yards.

 

“It was a great game and it was a great opportunity to go against a 5-0 team,” Martin said. “We played hard and came out with a victory.”

 

The Highlanders’ will next host Fullerton for its homecoming game Friday night.

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

Posted on 13 May 2014 by La Habra Journal

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.

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Raiders shut out La Habra, extend win streak to 13 games

Posted on 09 May 2014 by La Habra Journal

Gavin Blodgett recorded a RBI-triple and came home to score in the fourth inning during the Raiders' 5-0 win over La Habra, Friday at Sonora High.

Gavin Blodgett recorded a RBI-triple and came home to score in the fourth inning during the Raiders’ 5-0 win over La Habra, Friday at Sonora High.

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.”

La Habra's Robert Leffler (shown against Troy) threw five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out two batters in La Habra's 5-0 loss to Sonora, Friday afternoon at Sonora High.

La Habra’s Robert Leffler (shown against Troy) threw five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits while striking out two batters in La Habra’s 5-0 loss to Sonora, Friday afternoon at Sonora High.

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.

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Lady Raiders rejoin top ranks in Freeway League with big win over Buena Park

Posted on 09 May 2014 by La Habra Journal

Sonora's Sam Casanas threw three shutout innings before earning a rest after pitching nine innings against Fullerton on Tuesday. Sonora defeated Buena Park 11-0 in six innings, Thursday afternoon.

Sonora’s Sam Casanas threw three shutout innings before earning a rest after pitching nine innings against Fullerton on Tuesday. Sonora defeated Buena Park 11-0 in six innings, Thursday afternoon.

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.”

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