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Team cleans up in awards

Softball: La Cañada has nine players who earn all-league accolades after putting together fine season.

June 23, 2010

After getting a taste of the playoffs for the first time in some time, the La Cañada High softball team is hungrier than ever to get a CIF Southern Section championship ring.

The 2010 season started out with low expectations after seven seniors left the team and five freshmen were called upon to fill the varsity roster. The Spartans' low expectations turned into high hopes, however, as the season progressed.

After making it all the way to the CIF semifinals, the team's hopes were shattered as errors untimely cost them a shot at a championship after a 3-1 loss to South Hills of West Covina.

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The season proved to be a fruitful one as the Spartans won the Rio Hondo League title, going 10-2 (25-5 overall). The team generated 152 runs, five times the 30 runs they allowed.

The Spartans also had the most players named to the All-Rio Hondo League team with nine. Anna Edwards was named one of the league's Most Valuable Players (along with junior Shelby Gogreve of South Pasadena), while the two Laurens, O'Leary and Cox, were both labeled Most Valuable Pitchers in league.

Six other Spartans were named to either the first or second teams. Catherine Horner, Megan Martin and Kayla McCue made first-team all-league for the Spartans and Kelsey Drange, Shirley Drange and Selina Mohr rounded out the second team.

The Spartans relied upon their clutch hitters, and most of all, pitching in 2010, as O'Leary, a junior, and Cox, a sophomore, proved a dominant duo. The duo combined to throw 195 innings (all but eight throughout the season), while only surrendering 14 earned runs in 30 games.

Spartans' Coach KC Matthews had a formula of using O'Leary to generally start the first four innings of a game and bring in Cox in the fifth to close it out. Cox served as a change of pace to batters who were trying to figure out O'Leary.

"We work really well together because we have such opposite styles," O'Leary said. "[Cox] throws really hard and blows them away. I have more movement than speed."

Cox agreed, saying the varying skills of the players seemed to throw teams off.

"The Laurens always brought it," Edwards said. "We always knew we were going to be in any game no matter what, even against teams who were ranked higher than us. They brought a level of confidence to the team because they are so confident in what they do."

Many times, behind every great pitcher is a great catcher. Horner, a sophomore, was a solid backstop for La Cañada.

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