Softball notes: La Habra puts on impressive showing in prestigious tourney


While the football program has been La Habra High's calling card for the better part of 15-plus years, the school's softball program is rapidly gaining attention in the local and national spheres thanks in large part to an outstanding showing in this past weekend’s prestigious Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz.

In playing its way into the championship game on Saturday night, La Habra knocked off county powers Pacifica, Orange Lutheran and Los Alamitos in successive rounds before falling to Norco High, 2-0, in the finale.

The Highlanders – who were moved up from Division 2 to Division 1 this season – have sprinted out to a 6-2 start this spring and were the No. 2-ranked team in this week's CIF-SS Division 1 poll.

“We were ecstatic and the winning was a byproduct of their efforts,” Highlanders coach Steve Harrington said of his team’s play over the weekend. “The tournament was a win-win for us. Great teams, great coaches and great kids who are at the pinnacle of their sport. It’s an honor to play Pacifica, Orange Lutheran, Norco and Los Alamitos. We want to be able to put ourselves in that category from a competitive perspective.”

Senior pitcher Hannah Johnson won four games in the circle for the Highlanders, shutting out Roosevelt of Eastvale, Pacifica and La Habra, while holding Orange Lutheran to two runs on just five hits.

“I saw a significant growth in every arena: pitching, catching, hitting, infield and outfield play,” Harrington added. “We’re excited to earn recognition for softball and we’re going to continue to strive for excellence. There’s a lot of great teams (in Division 1) and anybody can win this thing. Everyday we’re reminding the kids to have the mindset that any team can beat any team at any time.”

The Highlanders will have a chance to demonstrate their staying power in a matter. La Habra will be one of the favorites in the upcoming Michelle Carew Classic which kicks off on April 5 at Peralta Park.

•After a one-week hiatus with several local teams playing the Tournament of Champions out in Arizona, the Best of the West Tournament will continue this Saturday, March 18, with four of the top-six teams in the county making up the final four. No. 5 Mission Viejo and No. 6 Pacifica will square off on one side of the bracket while No. 2 Los Alamitos and No. 3 Mater Dei battle it out in the other semifinal. Both games will begin at 11 a.m. at Pacifica High. The winners advance to the 3 p.m. championship game.

•The 2017 Coach Takk Classic started Monday (March 13) and will run through Friday (March 17) at four locations throughout the county. Fullerton, Troy, Sonora and Lake Intermediate School in Garden Grove will each be hosting double headers throughout the week. Rosary, Garden Grove, San Juan Hills, El Dorado, Sonora, Brea Olinda, Troy and Fullerton make up the batch of local teams competing in this week’s field.

•The 12-team Saddleback Valley Tournament began on Monday afternoon at Alicia Park in Mission Viejo and will continue through Thursday, March 16 with the final set for a 6:15 p.m. opening pitch. No. 5 Mission Viejo, No, 9 Capistrano Valley and No. 10 Santa Margarita are amongst the favorites competing in the all-Orange County field of teams. The Eagles finished as the runner-up in 2016, falling to Trinity League rival Orange Lutheran in the final.

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