Looking comfortable leads to uncomfortable win
April 27, 2012 Leave a comment
La Habra coach Paul Caffrey had reasons to be upset after his team’s 5-0 victory over Buena Park at home on Friday.
It was the first time the Highlanders played while in sole possession of the lead in the Freeway League standings, but La Habra didn’t look the part for five innings of Friday’s contest.
Despite a first inning run on a fly ball by Aaron Porter that popped out of the glove of a leaping Seong Joon Park, which scored AJ Oviedo from third base, pitchers Josh Staumont and Cody Gutierrez engaged in a pitcher’s duel in which each consistently worked out of trouble with one runner on base.
The two matched innings until the sixth inning, in which La Habra put a stamp on the game with four runs. Sean Sparling broke through with the big hit, a two-RBI triple that plated both Staumont and Omar Villicana. Sparling scored on a hit by Marcus Lopez and Oviedo drove home Lopez for the final run.
The reason for Caffrey’s frustration was clear, heading into the two most important series of the season in the next two weeks, his team seemed to take a day off, which led to some mental errors, especially on the basepaths.
Twice were the Highlanders able to get the leadoff batter on base only to watch the runner get picked off at first base by Gutierrez shortly thereafter.
Moreover, La Habra on multiple occasions couldn’t come up with the big hit, leaving runners in scoring position.
On the mound however, Staumont continued to deal and picked up his seventh win in eight starts. Staumont only allowed two baserunners once in the game and when the Coyotes decided to play small ball to get Cameron Griffith to third base in the fifth inning with one out, Staumont closed the inning with a strike out and a pop out.
The senior continued to work the fastball, blowing it by Buena Park batters throughout the game. The Highlanders outscored Buena Park 26-2 in the three-game series sweep.
The Highlanders now will gear up for the toughest two weeks of the season, first a home-and-away series with second-place Sonora and finally the same with Troy. Currently, Sonora is one game back of the Highlanders heading into their series next week. La Habra has the 1-0 series lead.