Photo gallery: La Habra-Sunny Hills baseball
By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer
FULLERTON – Wednesday’s Freeway League baseball game between La Habra and Sunny Hills started out as an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel.
That all changed, however, when Sunny Hills’ offense came to life during the game’s latter stages. The host Lancers scored multiple runs in both the fifth and sixth innings and went on to a 5-1 victory over La Habra.
Sunny Hills starter Reese Kimball pitched a complete-game three-hitter to earn the win. He struck out 11 La Habra batters.
Eric Evans, who collected three hits, and Ryan James, who drove in three runs, paced the offense for the Lancers, who improved to 8-9 overall and 4-4 in league. Kimball also helped his own cause by recording two RBIs.
Austin Saad drove in the lone run for the Highlanders (9-11, 4-4).
“We started off slow and weren’t making adjustments,” Sunny Hills coach Raymond Rios said. “We finally made adjustments and made good things happen. Our pitcher had a good game.”
The Lancers, trailing 1-0, woke up offensively in the bottom of the fifth. Evans, who led off the frame with a single to center, scored the Lancers’ first run when he came home on James’ triple to right.
This set the stage for Kimball, who put Sunny Hills ahead to stay when he laid down a successful squeeze bunt that scored James.
“That squeeze gave us a lot of momentum and we built off of that momentum,” Rios said.
Sunny Hills seized control by adding three more runs in the sixth. After Highlanders starting pitcher Anthony Acosta retired the first two batters, Evans extended the inning by producing a groundball single to left. Carlos Kimball followed Evans by delivering his own base hit.
James, the next Lancers batter, made La Habra pay by blasting a two-run double to center. Reese Kimball then closed the game’s scoring with an RBI single.
Sunny Hills secured the victory when Reese Kimball pitched a scoreless seventh.
Things started off promising for La Habra, which scored during its first at-bat. That’s when Saad delivered a two-out RBI single that scored Andrew Gallegos, who reached base on a fielder’s choice.
The Highlanders had an opportunity to extend their lead in the top of the fifth. Senior second baseman Marcus Lopez started the threat when he reached on a two-out double to right.
After an intentional walk to senior shortstop Zack Ferreira, Kimball escaped the jam when he struck out Gallegos.
The two teams meet again Friday at La Habra. With both the Highlanders and Lancers holding 4-4 league marks and trailing first-place Sonora (7-0 entering Wednesday’s league play), Friday’s game could go a long way in determining the postseason picture.”It’s a must-win situation for us,” La Habra coach John Sothern said. “We can’t afford to drop anymore games.”Said Rios, “All these games from now on are huge.”
Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.