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Edwards lifts La Cañada

Softball: Spartans roll to a 7-0 CIF victory against Hemet, capitalizing on Bulldog errors.

May 26, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

HEMET — La Cañada High's softball Coach KC Matthews called Anna Edwards over after the Spartans second-round CIF Southern Section Division V road playoff game against Hemet on Tuesday.

"Does the field look smaller?" Matthews asked her with a laugh.

Edwards just smiled. She had every reason to be happy after just going three for four with two solo home runs. Her effort backed a 7-0 La Cañada win after another gem from pitcher Lauren O'Leary.

O'Leary kept the No. 1 Spartans (23-3, 12-0 in Rio Hondo League) rolling, hurling a complete-game one-hitter with eight strikeouts.

"When I walked up [the field] definitely looked a lot smaller and I thought, 'Oh, I'd like to hit a home run here,'" Edwards said.

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Whether or not the field was actually smaller than La Cañada's home field might not have mattered, because both of Edwards' homers would have been gone out of almost any high school softball field.

"[Edwards] has impressed me for four years, and she continues to," Matthews said. "She's a great hitter. There's no one I trust more with two strikes."

As the Spartan's leadoff hitter, Edwards got things rolling for her team with a line-drive single to start the game.

"We came into this game knowing this pitcher was pretty good," Edwards said. "I wanted to start the game well so we would all be confident out there."

Confidence started building when Kelsey Drange followed the home run with a walk and Catherine Horner hit a ground ball to the Bulldogs' second baseman, Taylor Wolever. It looked like a routine ground-out, but Wolever rushed the throw and it sailed into La Cañada's dugout, scoring Edwards and putting runners on second and third.

It looked like Hemet (16-13-1, 9-6 in league) would escape with limited damage when pitcher Cheyenne Gandara struck out the next two batters. Lauren Cox kept the rally alive, though, swinging at the first pitch she saw and sending a line drive over the right fielder's head, bringing Drange and Horner home and giving the Spartans a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

"Getting Lauren O'Leary a three-run cushion early when we didn't really earn them is big, because she's one of the best around," Matthews said.

Cox went one for two and is three for four with two doubles in the playoffs since returning to the lineup after recovering from a groin injury.

"It's really nice getting back into it," Cox said. "I'm just working really hard in practice so I can contribute something because I haven't been doing much all season."

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