La Cañada rebounds from tough start against Tigers

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — In need of putting a stop to a frustrating start to the Rio Hondo League season La Cañada Coach KC Mathews shuffled his lineup when the Spartans hosted South Pasadena Thursday.

It paid off, as the Spartans snapped a two-game winless streak and earned their second league victory via the mercy rule, 10-0, as they got eight hits from six players, who were almost all in new spots in the batting order.

The most notable change Mathews made was putting standout catcher Catherine Horner in the leadoff spot as he did with Anna Edwards, who now plays for Northwestern University, last season.

Horner, who's headed to the University of Tulsa, responded with a two-for-four day with three runs batted in.

"Don't read too much into [the changes] or read a little into it, we'll see," Mathews said. "We're not going to be stagnant. We are going to try some things and see what works best and what produces."

La Cañada (7-1-1, 2-1-1 in league) got another dominating performance from Lauren Cox, who only allowed one baserunner via walk through five innings, in the circle.

"Our change of lineup I think is what we needed — a fresh look just to get everybody confident in what they were doing," said Cox, who also racked up eight strikeouts after striking out the first five batters she faced.

The Spartans offense was also aided by four Tigers (5-7, 1-4) errors that prolonged the first, second and fourth innings.

"There were too many innings where the pitcher had to get four outs," South Pasadena Coach Ted Mureau said. "Once that happens they're going to score. Pitchers are human and they get frustrated and it makes it harder to pitch when you think you have to do everything."

The biggest hit of the game — a grand slam — came off the bat of pinch-hitter Olivia Lam in the bottom of the fourth inning. The freshman fell behind in the count, 1-2, but worked the count full and fouled off three pitches before driving a homer over the right-field fence for an 8-0 lead.

It highlighted a six-run bottom of the fourth inning for La Cañada as Horner drove home two more runs four batters later with a single to left field to cap the scoring.

The Spartans, who hadn't scored since the second inning of a 3-2 loss to San Marino on March 23, broke an 18-inning scoreless streak in the second inning Thursday when Horner drove home Aubri Thompson, who reached on an error, with a double over the right fielder's head.

"It's been a rough week, huh?," said Mathews, whose team played Monrovia 14 innings to a scoreless tie Tuesday. "Today was about these girls coming out and making some adjustments and learning from this week. Result wise this has been a tough week for us, but what's encouraging as a coach is our girls have learned something from each of these experiences and came out here and showed they can do it."

Annie Monroe drove in Selina Mohr, who reached on a fielder's choice grounder, with an infield single and Michelle Grochow plated both Monroe and Horner with a chopper up the middle to push the lead to 4-0.

"It was definitely a really good game because it broke our streak of not being able to capitalize on errors and not scoring," Cox said. "It was nice to come out, instead of having 14 innings, and finish in five and show people what we can do."

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