Highlanders take out North Torrance to advance in CIF | La Habra Journal

Posted on 15 May 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

dsc_0066-300x199-1916442Thanks to an early offensive outburst, the La Habra baseball team cruised to a 9-2 victory over North Torrance in the Wild Card round of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs, Tuesday afternoon at La Habra High.

The Highlanders’ five-run 2nd inning was more than enough to keep starting pitcher Logan Lannon comfortable on the mound. The junior right-hander pitched six innings and allowed two runs on four hits, while striking out two batters and walking two others.

“He gave us a really gutsy performance at Sonora last week and he came in and did a great job today,” said John Sothern, La Habra head coach. “He owned the inside part of the plate, he’s got great movement on his fastball and he’s not afraid to go inside. He induced a lot of bad contact.”

Perhaps the better part of the win is that Sothern did not have to call on Sean Sparling, who will start Friday’s first round game at La Serna.

Brett Mays led the charge at the plate for La Habra, going 3-for-3 with three singles. The senior scored twice and also drove in a run on a deep fly ball that hit just two feet below the top of the fence in left center field.

John Young also scored twice and reached base in three of his four plate appearances. Eight of La Habra’s nine starters collected at least one base hit.

The Highlanders struck early in the second inning as an error and two singles loaded up the bases for Jake Tourville.

The junior hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Young, but Mays scored behind him when Saxons’ center fielder Jorge Hernandez dropped the ball while in throwing motion.

Vicente Perez later drove in two more with a double down the right field line, scoring Marcus Lopez and Zack Ferreira. Perez came home on a single by Andrew Gallegos to make it 5-0.

dsc_0062-300x199-1469673“I felt from the beginning that we were confident and ready to go, I think I was more intense writing the lineup cards then they were when they were stretching,” Sothern said. “With Lannon not having a lot of innings under his belt, we wanted to make sure to give him an early cushion and I knew we would be able to put up runs.”

In the 5th inning, the offense erupted again, this time for four runs, which were aided by a pair of errors.

After Gallegos led off with a walk, Young reached on a throwing error before Mays’ big shot to deep left center, which brought home Gallegos.

Two batters later, Jake Tourville lined a double down the left-field line to bring home both Young and Mays. Danny Sanchez then singled home Tourville’s pinch-runner, Frankie Zaluske.

“We’re always trying to use the middle of the field, so we changed things up in batting practice,” Sothern said. “We’ve been doing a great job of driving the ball to the middle of the field, so it seems to be working.”

Lannon and the defense did the rest, keeping a good-hitting Saxons team at bay.

The junior pitcher had a no-hitter broken up in the 4th inning by Devin Nakagawa, who singled to lead off for North Torrance.

Roman Luna then doubled to bring home Nakagawa, but Luna was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.

Nakagawa scored again in the 6th inning when Luna’s single got through the glove of left-fielder Sanchez, which allowed Nakagawa to score from first base.

The win ensures that Sothern will finish his first season as head coach with a winning record. La Habra takes a short trip to play La Serna on Friday.

“We saw [La Serna] in the fall and didn’t play very well against them,” Sothern said. “They were here today watching and they saw some things, but we have other ideas in our bag of tricks, there’s a lot of different things we can do, it’s just a matter of executing.”

North Torrance finishes up its season with a 16-13 overall record. The Saxons were an at-large team, finishing 4th in the six-team Pioneer League.

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