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La Habra refuses to slow down, rolls over Fullerton

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

FULLERTON – La Habra’s softball program has had its share of success over the years.
That hasn’t deterred first-year coach Steve Harrington from implementing a brand-new system, and it’s working quite well.

La Habra pushed the play in defeating Fullerton, 10-3, Tuesday in a Freeway League game at Fullerton High.

The third-ranked Highlanders improved to 19-1 overall with their 16th consecutive victory. They are 3-0 in league.

The Highlanders frequently took the extra base against the Indians (12-7-1, 1-1), whether it was via the stolen base or moving up a base when the cut-off option was overthrown. It helped them produce 10 runs on 13 hits.

Frankie Mendoza went 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Nikki Butler also had two doubles and drove in two runs, and Janelle Rodriguez was 2 for 5 with a solo home run.

“We always look for the extra base,” said Mendoza, a UC Davis signee. “We always want to push ourselves farther and get one more run. That one run could be the difference between a win and a loss.”

Run-scoring singles by Alyssa Palacios and Jayanna Perez helped the Highlanders jump out to a 3-0 lead in the second.

La Habra also posted three-run innings in the third and sixth innings.

For Harrington, the team's recipe for success has been centered around two simple ingredients: aggression and humility.

“The goal is to exercise humility,” Harrington said. “We’re going to take every team as though they’re the best thing since sliced bread.

“That’s what is the most difficult at this point in time is to realize that you have a good record, you are a good ball club, but at any point in time, someone can just run right over you.”

Fullerton trailed, 6-0, before it struck for two runs in the fourth. Alyssa Brundage and Kassidy Buis plated runs with hits.

But when it looked like the Indians were getting something going, Elena Valenzuela was able to shut the door. She struck out Samantha Gutierrez with the bases loaded to end the fourth. In the sixth, she again stranded three runners by getting Erin Flores to pop up.


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