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Back-to-back champs

Softball: Behind a balanced offense and a steady Cox performance, Spartans beat Beaumont again for CIF title.

June 03, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

IRVINE — It was the two senior pillars of the La Cañada High softball team that lifted the Spartans to a CIF Southern Section Division V championship last year.

Everyone wanted in on the action Saturday when La Cañada traveled back to Irvine's Deanna Manning Stadium for a rematch with Beaumont for the division title.

All three facets of the game and just about everyone came together for the Spartans, who played solid defense, got another strong pitching performance and caught fire offensively in a 7-3 victory over the Cougars.

"It's completely different games," said Spartans Coach KC Mathews of the past two championship games. "There's not one better than another, they're just different. Last year our studs stepped up and did the job. This year — it was kind of the anthem of the year — we needed the whole team to step up if we were going to get back here and do what we just did. It was like they all decided to all do it today."

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The Spartans piled on 11 hits with six batters getting a base hit and four more — Catherine Horner, Kelsey Drange, Annie Monroe and Jessica Ogden — logging multi-hit games.

Lauren Cox backed La Cañada's offense in the circle, as she struck out 10 and gave up five hits and three runs in the complete-game victory.

"We had an amazing team outing today," said Cox, who sat out most of last year with an injury. "Had [the offense] not come through we wouldn't have won the game. I am so excited, we've worked so hard and it's so nice to actually feel like I have been a part of it."

All of the Spartans' success at the plate came off Beaumont senior pitcher Alyssa Fuimaono, who held most of La Cañada's lineup in check in last year's championship game.

Fuimaono gave up just three hits in the 2011 title game, but one was a solo homer to Anna Edwards that backed La Cañada pitcher Lauren O'Leary for a 1-0 victory and the Spartans' first CIF title since 1995.

The Spartans had two hits and a run off the Cougars (26-5) by the end of the first inning Saturday.

Horner (two for three with three runs) started the offensive attack with a leadoff single to right field in the bottom of the first inning. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and groundout before Kelsey Drange blooped a single to left field for a 1-0 lead.

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