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 – 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.”
La Habra 3, Northview 2
Nogales 3, St. Paul 0
The same could be said of Staumont, who thwarted Northview rallies in the fifth and seventh to earn his second save.
La Habra, after getting a RBI double by Ferreira in the third and Porter’s two-run single in the fourth, were looking good, sporting a 3-0 lead going into the fifth.
But Northview, which used playoff magic to win a Division 4 title in 2008, found some good Karma in the fifth.
The Vikings, who had just one hit off La Habra’s Spencer Long during the first four innings, rallied to cut it to 3-2 in the fifth following a double by Dominic Baca, a walk to Gabe Rojo and a two-run double by Chris Elias that hit near the top of the right field fence.
“I thought we hit the ball well (earlier in the game),” Northview coach Darren Murphy said. “But we’re going to battle, and our guys just continue to fight.”
Long struck out pinch-hitter DJ Howard to end the threat. But Northview wasn’t about to go away, and showed it with a seventh-inning rally, started by a lead-off single by Baca.
Rojo followed with a sacrifice bunt to move pinch-runner Alec Rodriguez to second.
But Staumont, who came in the sixth, struck out Elias for the second out. Then after walking Michael Carlos, he struck out Arias on a high fastball to end it.
“(Staumont’s) a guy we want in that spot,” Caffrey said. “He just competed, too. He got in a tough spot right there, and that’s not easy, especially for a guy who has never been in a playoff game before, but he came in and finished the game.”
The Highlanders took a 1-0 lead in the third with a rally started by a one-out single by Porter. Staumont followed with a single before Ferreira doubled to left for the lead.
La Habra, which had 12 hits, loaded the bases in the fourth. Porter then followed with his single to center to push it to 3-0.
Northview rallied before Staumont came up big in the seventh to send the Highlanders to the second round.
“We competed,” Caffrey said. “I’m happy about that. We played all seven innings, played good defense. (Northview’s) pesky and they kept fighting. I give them a lot of credit.
“But the biggest thing for us is getting through this first one. That was the key. We have some work to do, but we feel good.”
NOGALES 3, ST. PAUL 0
LA PUENTE — Junior Erik Gonzalez threw a one-hit shut out and Nogales High School won its first CIF-Southern Section playoff game since 2007.
The Valle Vista League champion Nobles (22-6) beat St. Paul 3-0 Thursday and will face the winner of the Savannah/Estancia game next Tuesday in a Division 4 second round matchup at a site to be determined.
The Nobles scored what proved to be the winning in the bottom of the third inning.
Swordsman starter Aaron Pinto set down the first seven batters he faced before senior Alejandro Sanchez hit a one-out triple and came home on a single by Eric Valenzuela.
St. Paul coach Casey Morales: He (Gonzalez) did a great job of attacking a couple of zones. “His slider was something we hadn’t seen all year. That was a college slider right there and we were back on our heels. I thought we’d get something toward the end but he just beat us today.”