Spartans able to take two

Runs didn't come easy for the La Cañada High softball team in a doubleheader against Village Christian. But the Spartans did end the day at the Crusaders' home field with two wins.

La Cañada needed an extra inning in Saturday's opener to get the 1-0 win against the Crusaders' pitcher, Emily Seidel, a top pitcher in the area. The Spartans offense got rolling in the final game, defeating Village Christian 4-1.

Lauren O'Leary guided La Cañada (8-3) to victory in both games. She threw a complete-game shutout in the first game, striking out 13 while allowing just four players on base (three hits and a walk). O'Leary's performance outshined Seidel, who struck out 12 but gave up five hits and a walk.

Two of the hits against Seidel came in the eighth. Jessica Ogden got the Spartans' offense going in the extra frame with a single. Megan Siepler came up and drove in Ogden from second with a ground-rule double for the game's only run.

"I was just focused on getting that hit, because there were two outs and we were already in extra innings," Siepler said. "I just kept my eye on the ball and wanted to make sure I went with it, turn or stay back on it, wherever the ball was."

The Spartans made sure runs weren't at a premium in the final game when Seidel handed the ball off to teammate Katie Lucas.

Kelsey Drange put La Cañada on the board in the second inning, driving home her sister, Shirley, from second to give her team an early 1-0 lead. Shirley got the inning started with a lead-off single and advanced to second on a passed ball.

Passed balls hurt the Crusaders (6-9) in the second game, as the Spartans took four bases on miscues, while stealing three others.

"When hits are at a premium, if you don't take those bases you're not going to get those runners in," La Cañada Coach KC Matthews said. "Against a team like this — that's well coached and doesn't make a lot of mistakes — you have to do that stuff. I was disappointed we weren't doing those things in the first game."

Anna Edwards put a pair of runs on the board in the fourth inning, blasting a hard-hit grounder down the third-base line that went right underneath the glove of Village Christian's third baseman, Rachel Temple. The hit went for a double and Edwards drove in Annie Monroe and Kelsey for a 3-0 edge for the Spartans.

Those would be all the runs La Cañada would need, as O'Leary was lights out again, tossing four scoreless innings and giving up just two hits and a walk.

"[O'Leary] always keeps us in the game, it's nice," Siepler said.

Alyssa Stolmack relieved O'Leary in the fifth and sacrificed one run in the inning after Paige Phillips delivered a run-scoring single up the middle for the Crusaders. That was all Village Christian would get though, as Stolmack surrendered three hits and a walk, while striking out two in three innings of relief work.

Siepler struck again in the seventh inning with a line-drive triple over the head of the Village Christian right fielder, bringing home Edwards — who singled — for a 4-1 lead.

Edwards had put a scare in the Spartans' fans a few moments before when she stole second, sliding head-first and coming up in pain after hurting her finger. She stayed in the game, however, and proceeded to steal third base before Siepler's triple.

"She's tough as nails, that kid," said Matthews of Edwards, who went two for four with two RBI and two stolen bases.

La Cañada continued to win without the services of Lauren Cox in the circle. Cox hasn't played the entire season after suffering a groin injury in the preseason. Matthews said there's still no timetable for her return.

The team will face San Marino at 7 p.m. on Friday in a Rio Hondo League game.

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