La Habra’s dream ends with 5-4 loss in 10 innings to Kaiser

La Habra High School’s date with history came crashing down as Kaiser rallied for a 5-4 victory in 10 innings to oust the Highlanders from the CIF-Southern Section playoffs in a Division 4 semifinal. La Habra was seeking to win its first softball title since 1981.
Below is the story from our sister paper, the San Bernardino Sun.

By Louis Brewster
San Bernardino Sun
Kaiser’s Kardiac Kids, seemingly most comfortable when facing long odds, are returning to the CIF-SS Division 4 softball finals this weekend.
Crystal Cerpa’s bases-loaded, two-out, walk-off single in the 10th inning gave the Cats a 5-4 victory in Tuesday’s semifinal contest at Kaiser High School. La Habra was seeking its first championship game appearance since 1981.
It marked the second straight game Kaiser (22-8) won with its final at-bat. It’s also becoming commonplace for coach John Stevens, who saw his team rally after trailing 4-0 in the top half of the fourth inning.
“This is not anything new,” said Stevens, in his fourth year at the Kaiser helm. “We’ve been doing it. These kids thrive off each other. They keep battling, they feed off each other.
“La Habra’s not accustomed to this situation.”
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Porter, Esparza lead Rotary All-Star selections

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN

La Habra High School’s Aaron Porter and Maleena Esparza lead the selections for the 16th Whittier Rotary All-Star Classic, the rotary club announced this week.
The 16th annual baseball game, which features the top seniors in the area, is scheduled for York Field on June 6 at 6 p.m. The 10th annual softball game will be at 3 p.m., also on June 6.
Porter, the reigning Daily News Football Player of the Year and who could be picked in the early rounds of the upcoming Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, led the area in home runs with eight, and RBIs with 34. He finished the season with a .489 batting average to help La Habra win it’s first Freeway League title since 2004. The Highlanders finished 17-11 and advanced to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Divsion 4 playoffs, losing to Jurupa Valley, 6-3.
Esparza, is the reigning Daily News Softball Player of the Year. She has an area-best 12 home runs and 35 RBIs. The senior is also hitting .562 for La Habra, which is 23-8 and has advanced to next week’s CIF-Southern Section Division 4 semifinals. The Highlanders beat Dos Pueblos, 2-1, on Thursday.
Porter is one of four players from La Habra to be selected to the Blue Team, joined by Chad Ferreira, Spencer Long and Josh Staumont. Also selected to the Blue Team are El Rancho’s Juan Aguilar, Victor Garcia, Marcos Martinez and Kevin Rodriguez; La Serna’s Daniel Balzano, Alex Garcia, Taylor Lowinger and Jared Wight; Pioneer’s Patrick Jimenez; Schurr’s Oscar Sarabia; Sonora’s Mitchell Downing, Brandon Munoz, Nick Piraino and Brandon Quintero and Whittier Christian’s Billy Grant and Mark Sandison.
The Blue Team is coached by El Rancho’s Frank Llanes.
California’s Nathan Blount and La Mirada’s Ali Anthony, two of the better pitchers in the area this spring, led the Red Team selections. Also on the squad are California’s Michael Davis, Keith Gallardo and Luis Gallegos; La Mirada’s Michael Hemenway and Austin Rojo; Montebello’s Tony Monroy, Raymond Orozco and Sivestre Sanchez; Santa Fe’s Bryce Brooks, Ramon Lizarraga, Gilbert Medina and Romeo Prado; St. Paul’s Jonah Jimenez, Kevin Romo and Jorge Zepeda and Whittier’s Brandon Fortenberry, Jose Romero and Damain Salcedo.
The Red Team is coached by Santa Fe’s Pierre Romo.
Esparza is one of three players from La Habra named to the Red Team. She is joined by teammates Shanin Thomas and Cami Jacob. Also selected to the Red Team are California’s Meah Lopez, Christina Pantages and Karly Perez; El Rancho’s Samantha Alvarez, Alejandra Barcenas, Katherine Flores and Jamie Ramirez; Pioneer’s Cynthia Quintana; Santa Fe’s Reina Bernal, Jazzmin Espinoza, Elena Gallego, Arianna Hernandez and Jazzmin Hernandez and Whittier Christian’s Mandi Perez.
Santa Fe’s Randi Berg will coach the Red Team.
Selected to the Blue Team are Anisa Carrasco, Danielle Elizrraraz, Alendrina Pichardo and Jackie Valdez; Montebello’s Valerie Aguilar, April Marquez and Celeste Rodriguez; Schurr’s Alexandra Campo, Jamee Rivera, Jessica Rivera, Aishia Ruiz and Monique Troncoza; St. Paul’s Justine Almanza, Jackie Mendoza and Breana West and Whittier’s Larissa Andrade, Alexandra Romero and Ilene Ruiz.
Schurr’s Jackie Montanez-Ramirez is the Blue Team coach.
The event, which helps support the Whittier Rotary Club’s charitable organizations, will also feature a luncheon at the Radisson Hotel on June 5 at 11:45 a.m., and a home run derby before between the baseball and softball games.
The luncheon will feature former MLB player Al Martin as guest speaker. Tickets for the luncheon are $15, which also includes admission to the game-day events. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or by calling R.D. McDonnell at 562-907-4426.

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Softball Playoffs: La Habra breaks quarterfinal jinx, beats Dos Pueblos, 2-1, to advance; La Mirada gives up run in seventh, loses, 2-1, to Don Lugo

SEMIFINAL BOUND: La Habra players celebrate after clinching a spot in the CIF-Southern Section semifinals with a 2-1 victory over Dos Pueblos on Thursday.
Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger

And then there was one. On area softball team, which is La Habra after beating Dos Pubelos 2-1 in a Division 4 quarterfinal. La Mirada, hoping to get another shot at a division crown and get back to the finals, lost 2-1, at Don Lugo, which scored the winner in the seventh.

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
LA HABRA — The CIF-Southern Section quarterfinals have seemed like the La Habra High School softball team’s breaking point in recent years.
But no more.
Shanin Thomas and Racquel Manzo had RBIs in the fourth inning and Taylor Pierce was dominant in relief and the host Highlanders advanced to its first CIF-SS semfinal since the 1980s with a 2-1 victory over No. 3 seed Dos Pueblos in a Division 4 quarterfinal on Thursday.
La Habra, also getting a solid five innings in the circle from Vanessa Ciocatto, improved to 23-8. The Highlanders, who lost to La Quinta in the quarterfinals last season, will travel to either Kaiser or Cerritos Valley Christian, who play today, in Tuesday’s semfinals.
The finals are slated for Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine, on June 1 and 2. La Habra’s last division title was in 1981, when it beat St. Joseph, of Lakewood, for the 3-A chamionship.
Dos Pueblos, which won the division last season, finished 25-4. Pitcher Hannah Harris gave up five hits and struck out six for the Chargers.
Maleena Esparza, the reigning Daily News Player of the Year, started the rally by drawing her second walk. Thomas, who lined out in the first after Esparza walked, then came up big, lining a double to left-center field to score Esparza for a 1-0 lead.
Manzo, who had a key RBI double in the Highlanders’ 6-5 victory over Ocean View in the second round, followed with a ground-ball single to center to easily score Thomas for a 2-0 lead.
Pierce struck out five in two innings for the save.
La Habra coach Frank McCarroll: “It’s been a while. This time last year we were all in tears coming home from La Quinta, because we lost 2-1 on an error. We didn’t want that to happen this year.”
Thomas (on getting the game-winning RBI: “That’s happened to me more times than I can count (Esparza being walked in front of her). That’s the biggest boost in the world. Walking someone in front of me shows no respect, so I’m going to show them they should walk me instead.”
Thomas (on going to the semifinals): “It feels great, especially since last year I threw the ball away. It’s just great to get past (this round). Being a senior, I feel like this is our season. It’s cool to get that final out. You get the best feeling. It’s my team, and I want to lead them to the championship.”

For the complete story of La Habra’s 2-1 victory, click here

And here is the game story of La Mirada’s 2-1 loss to Don Lugo

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Baseball season comes to an end as La Habra, Whittier drop second-round games.

The 2012 area baseball season came to an end as La Habra dropped a 6-2 setback to Jurupa Valley and Whittier lost, 6-4, to Alhambra.

By Red Williams
SANTA FE SPRINGS — Stomachs were churning on both sides of the diamond Tuesday as Alhambra High School held on for a 6-4 victory over Whittier in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
The Moors had a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth when the Cardinals began staging a dramatic comeback. And it took left-hander Marco Briones to stem the flow by shutting out Whittier over the last inning and a third. A surprise pickoff play sealed the victory.
Alhambra (22-3) scored single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings, but the big blow was a bases-loaded double by Juan Morales to right-center in the third inning.
“It was a fastball away,” Morales said, “and I was able to drive it. It’s a great feeling to get to the third round.”
The Moors will battle either Lancaster or Warren on Friday.

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Softball Playoffs: La Mirada, La Habra advance to quarterfinals; La Serna, Montebello and Schurr see their seasons come to an end

Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb

The area’s hope for a CIF-SS softball title will rest with La Mirada and La Habra, who have looked like the two best teams in the area all season. Both won second-round games on Tuesday.
La Serna, Montebello and Schurr bowed out with losses.


By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
LA MIRADA — La Mirada High School’s run to last season’s Division 3 finals was viewed by most as the surprise of the 2011 CIF-Southern Section softball playoffs.
The Matadores keep proving it’s more the rule than the exception.
Mercedes Gasparovic had a home run and three RBIs and freshman pitcher Valerie Alvarado was solid in the circle to lead La Mirada to an 8-0 victory over visiting Los Altos on Tuesday in a Division 3 second-round game.
The Matadores, also getting two hits and three RBIs from Annie Dipillo, improved to 23-7 and will play at either Don Lugo or Rio Mesa of Oxnard in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Los Altos, which had won 12 consecutive games, finished 19-7.
“Last year, everyone kept saying it was fluke,” La Mirada coach Richard Trujillo said. “We’ve been talking all year about that and keep saying, ‘Well, we’ll prove (it wasn’t).’
“We’ve now won two (in the playoffs), and we have two more to go to get back to the finals.”
La Mirada 8, Los Altos 0
Chino Hills 8, La Serna 0
La Habra 6, Ocean View 5
Nipomo 2, Montebelllo 0
Barstow 14, Schurr 3

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Cosumnes rallies to deny SGV-led Rio Hondo for CCCAA baseball championship

File photo by Chris Burt

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
There will be a time when the Rio Hondo College baseball team will look back at arguably the best season in school history and feel good about what it accomplished.
But not today.
Josh Silver had an RBI single and Phillip Roa an RBI double in the 12th inning and Cosumnes River College won its first California Community College Athletic Association state title Sunday with an 8-6 victory over Rio Hondo at Bakersfield College.
The Hawks finished 28-16 and secured the north’s third consecutive CCCAA title. It the first three-peat for the north since Fresno City won consecutive championships in 1961, ’62 and ’63.
The Roadrunners, getting five hits and an RBI from Andrew Stein and three hits and an RBI from former South Hills High standout Cody Doyle, finished 40-5. Rio Hondo’s accolades this season include winning 33 consecutive games from February to this weekend and going 24-0 in winning the Foothill Conference for the third time in three years.
This was the Roadrunners’ second trip to the CCCAA Final Four in three seasons and their first time in the championship game.
“This is disappointing for the next day or so,” Rio Hondo coach Mike Salazar said. “But it’s one game, and in the whole season we won 40.
“Yes, only one team can be happy when the season’s over, so disappointing right now. But as you look back on the whole (season) entirely our (guys) did a great job.”
Cosumnes River was just a bit better Sunday and responded like good teams do by escaping a bases-loaded situation in the 11th and winning it in the 12th.
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Home Sweet Home: Six of seven area teams stay home for CIF-SS playoffs second round on Tuesday

HOME SWEET HOME: La Habra hopes to celebrate when the Highlanders resume the CIF-SS baseball playoffs Tuesday with a home game against Jurupa Valley. La Habra is one of six area baseball/softball teams who will be home on Tuesday.
Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger

Seven area teams survived and advanced the first round of the CIF-Southern Section baseball/softball playoffs, and six received the reward of being at home in Tuesday’s second round.
Only the Schurr softball team which travels to Barstow, will hit the road. In baseball, Whittier, in Division 3 and La Habra in Division 4 will host second-round games. In softball, La Mirada in Division 2, La Serna in Division 3, La Habra in Division 4 and Montebello in Division 5 are at home. Whittier will likely play its second-round game against Alhambra at Santa Fe High School. The Cardinals home field is currently under repair.
Here is Tuesday’s schedule:
Division 3

Alhambra at Whittier
Jurupa Valley at La Habra
Division 2

Los Altos at La Mirada
Division 3
Chino Hills at La Serna
Division 4
Ocean View at La Habra
Division 5
Nipomo at Montebello
Schurr at Barstow
All games are scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m.

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Track Finals: La Serna’s Fabela, Cantwell’s Aguirre claim CIF-SS titles

CIF CHAMP: La Serna’s German Fabela celebrates after winning the 400- meter
run at Saturday’s CIF-SS division track and field finals at Mt. SAC.
(Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)

By Keith Lair, SGVN
German Fabela made sure the tradition lived on.
Andres Vega set the standard for La Serna High School last season with a victory in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 400 meters. On Saturday afternoon at Mt. SAC, Fabela did the same thing in this year’s divisional finals.
“La Serna going two in a row is just awesome,” he said. “I had some great competition and I had to pull it through.”
The senior won the 400 in 48.03 seconds, a personal best. It also qualified him for Friday’s CIF-SS Masters Meet at Cerritos College.
“Why I ran like this is because of all the training I do,” he said.
“Thanks to my coaches. I don’t know if it’s the hardest event, but it is one of the hardest. You have to put all of your strength and speed into it and hope for the best.”
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Baseball: Whittier advances with late rally, Cal, El Rancho, Montebello and La Serna fall short

CONDORS STOP HERE: California saw its season come to an end with a 4-2 loss to Paramount in a CIF-SS Division 3 first-round game on Friday.
Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger

CONDORS DIE HARD:There will be no magical CIF-Southern Section playoff run for California High School. But the Condors died hard.
Aaron Pleitez had two hits and an RBI, Ulices Moreno and Frankie Valenzuela combined to throw two shutout innings in relief and visiting Paramount thwarted California rallies in the sixth and seventh innings to secure a 4-2 victory in a Division 3 first-round game on Friday.
The Pirates improved to 18-9 and will face either University or Quartz Hill in Tuesday’s second round.
California, which got RBIs from Ruben Pinedo and Daniel Marquez, finished 18-8

CARMONA DELIVERS FOR WHITTIER: The Whittier High School baseball team wanted to avoid extra innings at any cost in the opening game of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. Past history proves it.
The Cardinals had lost three of five extra-inning games in the Del Rio League this season, but they avoided going extra innings Friday when Cody Carmona delivered a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Ocean View, 5-4, at Santa Fe High.
The victory propels the Cardinals (17-10) into the second round where they will play third-seeded Alhambra (21-3), a 6-0 first-round winner over Carter, on Tuesday at a site to be determined

MONTEBELLO FALLS TO GARDEN GROVE: A porous defense Friday afternoon washed away any hopes Montebello High School’s baseball team had of advancing in the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.
The Oilers (15-10) committed six errors, all on the infield, allowing visiting Garden Grove to cruise to a 4-1 victory.

Division 3
Garden Grove 4, Montebello 1
Paramount 4, California 2
Whittier 5, Ocean View 4
Beckman 1, El Rancho 0
Westminster 7, La Serna 6
All games begin at 3:15 p.m.
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CIF-SS BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: La Habra holds off Northview; Nogales shuts out St. Paul

SURVIVING AND ADVANCING: La Habra players celebrate after a 3-2 victory over
Northview in a Division 4 playoff game on Thursday.
Staff Photo by Leo Jarzomb

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
La Habra High School leaned on seniors Aaron Porter and Josh Staumont this season and the result was the school’s first Freeway League title since 2004.
The duo came up big again Thursday.
Porter had a key two-run single in the fourth inning and Staumont struck out two in the seventh to lead the host Highlanders to a 3-2 victory over Northview in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 first-round game.
La Habra, also getting two hits and a RBI from Chad Ferreira, improved to 17-10 and advance to face either Jurupa Valley or Anaheim in Tuesday’s second round.
Northview, which had the tying run on second with two outs before Staumont struck out Chris Elias and Arias to end the game, finished 16-9-1.
“Aaron’s our guy,” La Habra coach Paul Caffrey said. “Obviously, we’ve rode him all year. To get him (in a key situation), he was going to make them pay. In that spot, he just gets it done.”

Division 4
La Habra 3, Northview 2
Nogales 3, St. Paul 0
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