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La Cañada, Flintridge Prep softball squads punch playoff tickets

La Cañada, Flintridge Prep softball squads punch playoff tickets
La Cañada High pitcher Holly Stoner and the Spartans will begin the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs at home Thursday against West Valley or Shadow Hills. (Raul Roa | Staff Photographer)

In the last two weeks of the regular season, the La Cañada High softball team played just three games.

La Cañada coach Chuck Gunter believes there are pluses and minuses from the lack of activity. In that stretch, the Spartans went 2-1 and won their fourth straight Rio Hondo League championship. On the other hand, another game or two probably would have kept the Spartans sharp heading into the postseason.

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La Cañada will start the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs at 3:15 p.m. Thursday with a home game against West Valley or Shadow Hills. The CIF Southern Section office released its playoff pairings for all seven divisions Monday.

Shadow Hills and West Valley will meet in a wild-card game Tuesday at West Valley.

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"You really don't like to sit idle for that amount of time, but we have been able to practice a bunch of things," Gunter said. "We liked the way we played over the last several weeks of the season and we'll look to continue that in the playoffs.

"Sometimes those first games can be tough and we lost to Arroyo last year in the first round. I think we are starting to click and we're healthy. We're playing solid defense and we're doing well with our situational hitting."

La Cañada (19-2-1) wrapped up the league title May 3 after defeating runner-up Temple City.

Shadow Hills (11-10) finished fourth in the Desert Valley League behind Palm Desert, La Quinta/La Quinta and Palm Springs. West Valley (15-12) was second in the Mountain Pass League behind Beaumont.

Flintridge Prep was the other local team to qualify for the playoffs.

Flintridge Prep (9-7) will take part in a Division VII wild-card road tilt versus Coastal Christian (6-4) at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The Rebels took fourth in the Prep League behind Chadwick, Pasadena Poly and Mayfield. Coastal Christian was third in the Coast Valley League.

The winner will take on host Santa Clarita Valley International (10-3) in a first-round game Thursday. Santa Clarita Valley International won the Omega League crown.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy didn't qualify for the playoffs.

Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich

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