LA CAÑADA — La Cañada High baseball Coach Alex Valadez dismisses any notion that his team is in the driver’s seat when it comes to a possible Rio Hondo League title.
“We focus on the next game,” Valadez said. “I can't overlook anybody is this league.”
However, the fact is that the Spartans, following Friday’s 10-4 win over South Pasadena, now sit at 6-2 in league and 11-5 overall, two more victories than and the same number of league losses as Monrovia.
According to Johnny Selsor, the Spartans at the beginning of the season considered a modest goal of winning two out of every three games against league opponents. They accomplished that on the road against South Pasadena on Friday.
The Spartans downed South Pasadena earlier this week, 15-5.
Friday's victory didn't come easy. The teams were tied 4-4 heading into the sixth inning before La Cañada's bats came alive. Selsor blew the inning open with a three-run triple and the Spartans took a 10-4 advantage they would not relinquish.
“I was just looking for a good pitch to hit,” said Selsor, who added a single and an RBI earlier in the contest.
The game got off to a peculiar first inning. La Cañada scored three runs in the top of the first, two of the runs the result of a balk with a runner on third. The third run came as the result of a double steal of second and home.
The Spartans were able to make use of both small ball and big bats.
“We have to do both,” Valadez said. “We're versatile at times. The fact of the matter is we need to rely on what we have that day. I think today we had a little bit of both.”
Down, 4-2, the Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 4 heading into La Cañada's big sixth.
South Pasadena Coach Anthony Chevrier expressed frustration at his team's fielding errors and other mistakes. For example, La Cañada's first batter of the sixth inning reached base on an error.
Chevrier did like what he saw in his team when the Tigers rallied to tie.
“It shows that we have a never-say-die attitude,” Chevrier said. “We just continue to compete no matter what the situation is. That's all I can ask of them as a coach.”
Justin Lewis had two singles and two runs scored for La Cañada. He also started the game on the mound, allowing two runs on three hits over four innings while striking out four.
Nick O'Brien had a double, single and two RBI for South Pasadena.
While La Cañada battles for first in the Rio Hondo League, South Pasadena (9-11, 3-5) is clawing for third.
“We're still in control of our own destiny,” Chevrier said. “That's all we can ask for.”