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Crown them CIF champions

Softball: Edwards' home run is all La Cañada needs in 1-0 victory against Beaumont.

June 09, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Raul Roa Staff Photographer )

IRVINE — Coming into the 2011 season, it was hard to imagine La Cañada High's softball team not winning a CIF Southern Section Division V championship.


The Spartans had made it to the semifinals in 2010, and 2011 marked Lauren O'Leary and Anna Edwards’ last high school season after being pillars for La Cañada for four years.


“I felt that we had a very solid club with so much experience,” Spartans’ Coach KC Mathews said. “I liked my chances.”


With a great deal of confidence, La Cañada had played cool, calm and collected all season, and nothing changed in Friday's CIF Southern Section Division V championship game against Beaumount at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.


La Cañada was so confident coming into the game that there was even some sparkling apple cider tucked away on the Spartans’ team bus if the game turned out in their favor.

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“We definitely knew that we had a shot this year,” La Cañada's junior catcher Catherine Horner said. “We were so close last year and we knew this was the year to do it.”


In the end, the Spartans may not have won as convincingly as they may have liked, defeating Beaumont 1-0. However, in the win they used a recipe that's been working for the past four years — the one-two punch of Edwards and O'Leary.


Both senior standouts delivered La Cañada's  first CIF Division championship since 1995. O'Leary, the starting pitcher, provided the shutout and Edwards was responsible for the lone run of the game, a solo home run in the top of the third inning.


“It’s absolutely perfect,” said Mathews, referring to how both O'Leary and Edwards brought their high school careers full circle with a CIF championship.


It looked as if the Spartans (26-3) were going to put their stamp on the game in the first inning after they loaded the bases with one out. Edwards got on base to start the game with a leadoff walk. Kelsey Drange reached first after she laid down a bunt that Beaumont (25-5) pitcher Alyssa Fuimaono quickly fielded to nail Edwards at second for the first out. Then Horner doubled and Megan Siepler loaded the bases with another walk. La Cañada couldn't cash in, though, as Fuimaono settled down and struck out Aubri Thompson and Lauren Cox to keep the game scoreless.

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