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Horner has it all behind plate

Offensively or defensively, La Cañada has nothing more to ask from its senior catcher.

May 11, 2012|By Andrew Shortall
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

When Catherine Horner first picked up the game of softball she planned on leading defenses as a pitcher. These days she's catching pitchers, but is still anchoring the La Cañada High softball team's defense.

Horner first had to be bribed to get behind the plate, as her dad paid her to catch her older sister during her pitching lessons.

"I have grown to love it, you're involved in every pitch," Horner said. "It doesn't matter if you get the glory or not, I am always involved and it never gets boring for me."

Most catchers don't get gobs of glory, but it's impossible to overlook Horner's solid defensive play behind the dish paired with her prowess with a bat at it.

It's that total package that Horner, who's headed to play for the University of Tulsa next year, presents that forced La Cañada Coach KC Mathews to go against what he thought was his better judgment of not starting a freshman at catcher.

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Mathews had already done so the year before Horner began her freshman year with the Spartans when he put Anna Edwards at catcher in her debut season.

"I wasn't sure until I met Anna that I wanted a freshman to be the quarterback of our defense," said Mathews, who moved Edwards over to shortstop to start Horner at catcher as a freshman despite Edwards batting .427 the year before. "That's the impression that Cat made. Anna was probably the best catcher in the league and to move her took some doing, and then Catherine was the best catcher in our league and has been since."

Steady improvement has been a mark of the Spartans since Horner joined the team to play alongside such players as Edwards, Lauren O'Leary and Lauren Cox, as La Cañada has been Rio Hondo League champions all four years with Horner, which ended a five-year drought.

In Horner's freshman year — when she started on the CIF Southern Section Division II-A champion La Cañada girls' volleyball team — the Spartans went 19-8, 11-1 in league and got bounced in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs. The next year they went 25-5 (10-2) and advanced to the semifinals before they won it all with a 26-3 (12-0) record last season.

Mathews, whose Spartans sit at 21-4-1 (10-1-1) entering the playoffs this year, said Horner's leadership, work ethic and skill set have been a tremendous resource over the past four years.

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