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La Cañada High baseball's dream season comes to a close

Baseball: Nightmare inning for Spartans leads to 8-5 loss against Sonora.

May 21, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

LA HABRA — It took a nightmare inning to end the turnaround season the La Cañada High baseball team dreamed up before the year began in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs Tuesday.

On two different occasions, the Spartans held a two-run lead on the road at Sonora High, but they seemed like distant memories when the Raiders exploded for six runs on six hits, two La Cañada errors and a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth inning that fueled their 8-5 victory.

“They were just hitting the ball hard and it kept falling, there was nothing we could do,” said La Cañada catcher Johnny Selsor, who was four for four with a run batted in in the loss.

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The junior added it may have been the worst inning his team's had this year.

“I don't really remember anything like that,” he said, “they just kept getting hits and we didn't know how to get them out.”

The loss ended a phenomenal campaign for La Cañada (14-8) under its first-year coach Alex Valadez, as it won the Rio Hondo League title and advanced to the second round for the first time in eight years.

“I don't think anybody could have expected any more or any less of this group, it's just a fact,” Valadez said.

Prior to Sonora's breakthrough frame in which it sent 11 batters to the plate and faced three different pitchers, La Cañada held a 4-2 advantage.

From the third inning to the fifth, momentum changed hands every inning. The Spartans got a big break in the bottom of the fourth.

Sonora's first two batters of the frame reached on a hit by pitch and infield single. With one out and both runners in scoring position, the Raiders' Brandon Chandler drove a fly ball into right field that brought the lead runner home.

La Cañada appealed the play and threw to third, and the umpire confirmed that Sonora's runner did not tag up from the base. It erased the run and kept the Spartans up, 3-2.

Clayton Herrmann (two for four) built on the momentum when he pulled a double down the third-base line that stretched into a triple on an error in left field. Selsor scored Herrmann with a single into left to give La Cañada a two-run cushion.

“We started off strong and we just gave up a couple of runs, but we battled to the last pitch,” Selsor said. “I think we played well today, it just didn't fall our way.”

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