June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

La Habra gets solid pitching and timely hitting in 5-3 victory over Chino Hills

La Habra players Jonah Mayo (No. 15), winning pitcher Maddox Moreno (No. 44) and Fernando Alatorre (No. 16) contributed to the win Friday. (Photo: Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone).

Maddox Moreno pitched six strong innings to lead La Habra’s baseball team to a 5-3 victory over Chino Hills in a nonleague game Friday afternoon at La Habra.

Moreno gave up six hits, struck out five and walked one batter as he earned his second win of the season.

“Maddox is a bulldog,” said Highlanders Coach Jack Brooks. “He had good stuff today, especially his changeup. It’s a nice win for us after losing to Santa Margarita yesterday. We have fight in us and we are learning to punch back.”

La Habra (7-3) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Gavin Valenzuela’s two-out RBI single, scoring Bobby Brooks. Spencer Carty and Bobby Fierro added RBI singles in the second inning as the Highlanders upped its lead to 3-0.

Moreno then ran into a bit of trouble in the third inning as the Huskies tied the game at 3-3, highlighted by Jackson Gray’s two-run double to right field.

The Highlanders countered with two more runs in the bottom of the third inning to retake the lead. Fernando Alatorre led off with a single, stole second base, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Izaiah Posada. Jonah Mayo followed with a base on balls and came around to score on Isaiah Najera’s two-out single off reliever Perry Johnson, giving the Highlanders a 5-3 lead.

“It’s exciting how we came back in the third inning after giving up three runs,” said Mayo, who scored two runs in the game. “Our team is always talking and we have each other’s back. We were fired up; we had a lot of fight in us.”

Moreno then settled down and retired the next 10 hitters in order for Chino Hills (7-2-1) before yielding back-to-back singles with two out in the sixth inning. Moreno retired Josh Mendez on a fly to left to end the inning. Isaac Aguirre pitched the seventh inning and earned the save after the Highlanders ended the game on a slick 3-6-3 double play.

“After giving up three runs, I felt like I had to hold them down, so my team could score more runs,” said Moreno. “I wasn’t nervous and my changeup was working well. This gives us momentum as we get ready to play St. John Bosco tomorrow.”

Alatorre had a big game as the Highlanders’ DH had two hits, scored a run, had a stolen base and was on base three times.

“It was a tough loss yesterday but we have a short memory and we were fired up to get back on the field today,” said Alatorre, a sophomore. “This win gives us momentum going forward.”

“Give La Habra credit, their hitting approach was very successful early in the game,” said Chino Hills coach Alex Sanchez, whose team lost for only the second time in 10 games this season. “We knew La Habra is a good program and that’s why we wanted to come here and play them.”

—Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone