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La Cañada High softball needs another walk-off win over Monrovia

Softball: Lam comes up clutch twice for Spartans in 8-7 victory over new Rio Hondo League-rival Wildcats.

April 12, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

LA CAÑADA — Put the La Cañada and Monrovia high softball teams on a field together and get ready for some drama — at least that’s the way it’s usually been the past two years.

Sticking true to the theme set in the previous two meetings this year, the third and final showdown of the season between the budding Rio Hondo League rivals ended in walk-off fashion Friday night.

With one out, the game tied and bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, La Cañada’s Olivia Lam lined a single into right field. It scored the winner in the 8-7 thriller and provided the Spartans with their final clutch hit — of which they were many — in overcoming an early five-run deficit on the team’s fourth annual Strike Out Cancer fundraiser game, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

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“I realized these are the kind of moments you play for. You wait for these walk-off hits, so I was nervous but at the same time excited,” said Lam, who was three for four with two runs batted in.

The win keeps the Spartans (9-5, 4-2 in league) in line to win their fifth straight league title. They’re in a tie with San Marino (12-4-1, 4-2) for second place with Temple City (8-8, 3-1) in first place after another dramatic finish with Monrovia.

“We walked off them, they walked off on us and then we come back to sort of get the last laugh,” said La Cañada Coach KC Mathews, whose team dropped consecutive league games for the first time since 2008 in a 5-4 loss to Monrovia Wednesday after previously losing to San Marino. “That’s two good teams playing there. We’ve played each other three times and it’s been fun every time.”

A five-run outburst in the second inning, highlighted by a Galvan Tanya grand slam, put La Cañada in a huge hole early. The Spartans climbed back into contention, but it seemed the Wildcats always had an answer.

La Cañada didn’t lead until Lam’s winner and trailed, 7-6, coming into its final at-bats.

The stage was set for Lam in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff single by Annie Monroe, who was three for four on the night. Monroe was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice from Michelle Grochow, who was substituted for pinch runner Michelle Musso.

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