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Spartans softball team's whole lineup has value in CIF quarterfinals

Softball: La Cañada High's No. 9 hitter contributes three hits and three runs in playoff win against Mary Star of the Sea.

May 27, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

SAN PEDRO — From top to bottom, there doesn't appear to be an easy out throughout the La Cañada High softball team's lineup.

That might spell doom for opponents waiting to face the Spartans over the next week.

While the accolades are normally reserved for the top part of the lineup, the Spartans, who are the reigning CIF Southern Section Division V champions, have received major contributions from one through nine. If there's a key situation calling for the No. 9 hitter to get on and then steal a base or notch a clutch two-out hit with the bases loaded, they get it.

It's simply a part of the process for the top-seeded Spartans, who rolled to a 7-0 road victory against Mary Star of the Sea on Thursday afternoon at the San Pedro Softball Complex.

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La Cañada starting pitcher Lauren Cox grabbed the spotlight with her 20-strikeout performance, but she received plenty of support from the middle of the lineup from right fielder and No. 6 hitter Jessica Ogden on down to the No. 9 spot occupied by center fielder Selina Mohr. Both proved to be large contributors in backing Cox and helping the Spartans (24-4-1) advance to the semifinals against visiting Nipomo on Tuesday.

"I think we have a very confident group of hitters throughout the lineup and that makes things tough for the other team," said Ogden, who blooped a bases-loaded double down the left-field line with two outs in the first inning to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead. "We can all hit and we all work hard at it and even our substitutes can hit when needed.

"On the double, I was just trying to get the ball in play. It was a combination of luck and some good hitting."

La Cañada's Nos. 6-9 hitters combined for five hits, including three from Mohr. Mohr also scored three runs and stole one base against the Stars (21-7-1).

In Mohr's case, she's expected by La Cañada Coach KC Mathews to set the table when leading off an inning. Mohr accomplished that feat twice, registering singles in the second and seventh. The result led to her scoring both times with her speed.

"That's usually my job, to be the second lead-off hitter," Mohr said. "I feed off the energy we have throughout our lineup.

"I try to pick them up and they try to pick me up."

Though the Spartans, who won the Rio Hondo League championship, didn't score in each inning, they managed to apply enough pressure on the Stars. Mary Star of the Sea never retired the Spartans in order and saw starting pitcher Marina Vitalich tire early against La Cañada's patient lineup.

The Spartans finished with 11 hits, all against Vitalich, who took a line drive by Kelsey Drange off her pitching hand in the second that gave them a 5-0 advantage.

"Every game, it's somebody different coming through," Mathews said.

Cox, a right-hander, was impressed by the offensive outing.

"I'm excited for them," Cox said. "They took advantage of almost every situation and they picked me up."

Two more similar efforts and the Spartans will be in line to pick up another championship plaque.

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