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La Cañada gets league win

Baseball: Clutch hitting propels the Spartans to their first league victory against San Marino.

April 20, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Tim Berger Staff…)

The ball hasn't been bouncing in the La Cañada High baseball team's favor much this season.

So when Anthony Mizrahi turned on an inside curveball during a home game against Rio Hondo League opponent San Marino, Spartans Coach Dennis Ballard feared the worst.

"When he first hit it, I thought it was just going to be a long fly ball and it just kept going — then I thought it might go foul," Ballard said. "The way things have been going, I thought it might land on this side of the fence and he'd get thrown out between second and third because he thought it was a home run. When things are going badly, you almost expect bad things to happen."

Mizrahi defied Ballard's worst-case scenario, sending the ball over the fence for a solo home run in the bottom of the third, tying the game at 1 after the Titans scored on a passed ball in the top of the third.

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"In the first at-bat he threw me two curveballs that were really slow and I just did not wait on it. So I went up my next at-bat thinking he was going to do it again, and it was the first pitch he threw me," Mizrahi said of the San Marino pitcher.

The home run kick-started the Spartans' offense, as they came up with two more big hits and earned a 4-3 win for the team's first Rio Hondo League victory of the year.

"We had forgotten how it felt to win; Rio Hondo has been tough for us," Ballard said. "We've lost close games and kept finding ways to lose."

La Cañada (7-8, 1-5 in league) took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Clayton Herrmann got the inning started with a one-out double to left-center field. Two batters later, Derek Georgino blasted a line drive to left field with two outs. It was a catchable ball, but the San Marino left fielder misplayed it, taking a few steps in only to have it sail over his head. Georgino turned the mistake into an RBI-triple, giving La Cañada a 2-1 lead.

The San Marino (4-10, 1-4) pitcher walked the next two batters, Mizrahi and Brendon Shoemake, to load the bases with two out. Ballard brought in Andrew Fisher to pinch hit, and it paid off.

"When they walk two guys to get to you, that can be very intimidating. But I walked up to Andrew and told him, 'They don't know who they're getting to,'" Ballard said.

Fisher cashed in after fouling off the first pitch, turning on a fastball and sending it down the left-field line past a diving third baseman.

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