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Sonora survives wild ending to clinch Freeway title

STAFF WRITER

Sonora lost a five-run lead in the top of the seventh inning and scored the winning run in the bottom of the inning to beat La Habra, 7-6, on Tuesday and clinch a share of the Freeway League baseball championship.

Sonora has won three league titles in a row and six in the past eight years.

The Raiders are 11-3 in league. Troy is in second place at 10-4, having beaten Sunny Hills in another dramatic league game Tuesday, a 6-5 win in eight innings.

La Habra and Sunny Hills are tied for third place with 8-6 league records. If they remain tied after today, Sunny Hills is the league’s No. 3 team because it beat La Habra in two of their three league matchups.

Only the top three teams in the six-team Freeway League will go to the playoffs. There will be no at-large berths available. Freeway League teams will play in the CIF-Southern Section’s Division 4 playoffs.

Sonora had a 6-1 lead going to the top of the seventh inning. The Raiders had scored two runs in the first inning, three in the second and one in the fourth. La Habra got a run in the sixth inning.

The Highlanders scored five runs, all with two outs, to tie the score, 6-6. Zack Stack had an RBI single in the inning. Brad Hoffrichter’s two-run double drove in La Habra’s fourth and fifth runs of the inning to tie it.

Sonora scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh without a hit. With two outs and the bases loaded, junior Jason Clayton walked on a full count to send in the winning run.

Clayton acknowledged the Raiders perhaps got a little smug with that five-run lead.

“We probably thought we had it in the bag,” said Clayton, who was 3 for 3. “They came back and made a couple of plays, and some things led to other things.”

Anticipating rain Thursday and Friday, the Freeway League moved its Thursday games to today. Sonora plays at La Habra and Sunny Hills is at Troy.

In the Crestview League:

El Modena 3, Canyon 1: Zachary McKay pitched five innings to get the win and improve to 8-1 for the second-place Vanguards (18-8, 7-4).

In the Empire League:

Pacifica 9, Valencia 0: Luis Plaza had three hits and four RBI for the visiting Mariners (16-14, 5-4).

Tustin 3, Kennedy 1: Tony Barrios struck out six in six innings of five-hit pitching for the second-place Tillers (17-12-1, 6-3).

In the Garden Grove League:

Rancho Alamitos 5, La Quinta 0: Shane Zielinski pitched a three-hitter and Victor Lopez drove in two runs for the host Vaqueros (18-6, 11-3) who are tied with Garden Grove for first place.

In the Golden West League:

Ocean View 7, Westminster 0: Braydon Salzman pitched five shutout innings for the visiting Seahawks (17-9, 13-1) who clinched a share of the league championship. Salzman has 23 consecutive scoreless innings.

Ocean View is one game ahead of second-place Orange. In a Thursday league doubleheader at Angel Stadium, Ocean View plays Westminster at 3:30 p.m. and Orange plays Segerstrom at 7 p.m.

Orange 6, Segerstrom 0: Michael Long pitched six shutout innings and James Endersby had three RBI for the visiting Panthers (18-6-1, 12-2).

In the Pacific Coast League:

Corona del Mar 4, Northwood 0: Evan Larsen pitched a three-hitter with seven strikeouts and had two RBI for the second-place Sea Kings (16-9, 8-6).

In the Sea View League:

No. 8 Mission Viejo 8, Laguna Hills 1: Thomas Byrne drove in two runs and Patrick Sandoval, who this week changed his commitment from Vanderbilt to USC, got the win to improve to 8-1 for the second-place Diablos (20-10, 8-3).

In the Sunset League:

No. 7 Fountain Valley 8, Newport Harbor 0: JT Navarro homered and doubled for the second-place Barons (20-9, 9-5).

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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