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Playoff run halted

SOFTBALL: South Hills ends La Cañada's fine season, as Spartans are defeated, 3-1, in CIF semifinals.

June 03, 2010|By Andrew Shortall

The La Cañada High softball team had its season come to an end Tuesday in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs after a 3-1 loss to host South Hills.

Throughout the season, Spartans Coach KC Matthews has used his two best pitchers, Lauren O'Leary and Lauren Cox, in succession to shut down the opposition. Matthews generally started O'Leary and had her pitch until the fifth inning, when he would bring in Cox to close out the game.

"Our pitching has been the backbone of our team all year long. We're confident in the pitcher's circle if we can get a run or two," said Matthews, who used the same formula in the squad's 5-0 win in the CIF quarterfinals.

However, on Tuesday that scenario yielded a different result.

O'Leary dominated the first half of the game, throwing four innings, striking out nine batters while giving up only one walk and no hits.

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Cox came in as usual in the bottom of the fifth with a one-run lead, but she ran into some trouble. She walked the first batter, who later scored on a throwing error on an attempted sacrifice bunt. O'Leary was later brought in to get the Spartans out of the inning.

The Huskies threatened in the bottom of the sixth on a Britney Rodriguez single to left field. O'Leary came back to retire the next two batters on strikeouts.

But the Huskies started a two-out rally when Lexi Robles singled to right, and later went to second on catcher's indifference. Pitcher Sydney La Follette then stepped up to the plate looking to help her own cause. She did just that, knocking a double over the head of the left fielder, which scored both runners, to give the Huskies a two-run lead late in the game.

La Follette pitched a complete game, giving up only one run in the first inning and scattering five hits and one walk.

"My biggest concern coming in was their pitching. I heard they go from great pitching to even better than that. People told me, 'You'd better score early,' so I'm thinking, 'Oh great, it's the fourth inning and we still haven't scored; that isn't good,'" Huskies Coach Scott Fisch said. "We got La Follette up to the plate, and she's been one of my biggest hitters all year."

When La Follette got to second she looked at her dugout and pumped her arms up in the air as her team cheered her on.

Errors and timely hitting made the difference, as the Spartans committed three miscues and the Huskies (23-7) didn't have any.

Matthews said he knew coming in his Spartans (25-5) couldn't give the Huskies extra chances at the plate.

"We made too many errors today, which is uncharacteristic of what we do, especially lately. You let this team hang around and they are going to make you pay with their bats," Matthews said. "We didn't quit, we kept swinging the bats, but we just came out on the short end today."

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