LA CA¿ADA — The La Cañada High School softball team needed a win in Rio Hondo League play.
It also needed a Temple City loss.
The Spartans went out and took care of business on both fronts, as La Cañada defeated Temple City, 7-4, at home on Friday.
Friday night was the rubber match in league play between these two squads. La Cañada defeated the Rams, 9-5, on March 26, but Temple City was the victor on Tuesday, 4-2. (The two rivals also faced each other in early March in the San Dimas Tournament. La Cañada one that meeting as well, 8-0).
However, the Spartans have played two more games than Temple City. La Cañada now sits at 7-3 in league and 13-9 overall. The Rams are 6-2 and 11-11.
“It keeps us within reach,” said La Cañada Coach KC Mathews. “They're in control of their own destiny right now. Them getting us on Tuesday really hampered our control of things.”
The Spartans got things going in the bottom of the first. Olivia Lam singled, Katy Lee walked and Michelle Grochow got hit by a pitch with one out, and the bases were loaded for Olivia Leyva.
Leyva knew what to do, powering a grand slam over the fence in right center, and La Cañada led, 4-0.'
“I was feeling pretty confident because I believe in our team's ability to hit runners in and make the plays we that we need to to be successful,” Leyva said.
In the bottom of the third, Leyva was at it again, only this time it was small ball. She walked, stole second and scored when teammate Aubri Thompson drove her in with a single. The Spartans enjoyed a 5-0 advantage.
However, Temple City got things going in top of the fifth. Behind four hits, two walks and two errors, the Rams pulled to within 5-4.
Matthews said he was pleased that his players didn't let the mistakes rattle them.
“They didn't take it to the plate with them and take it back to the field with them,” the coach said. “That's the game of softball, it's going to happen every once in a while. When you pile them up together and you let a team like Temple City back into a game, they can do some damage. I was proud of the girls that they bounced back after that.”
Also, Leyva wasn't done. In the sixth, she added two more RBI to give her team the 7-4 advantage. Overall, Leyva finished with a home run, single, walk, six RBI, a steal and two runs scored.
“I feel like our team has great potential,” Leyva said. “We have so much talent on our team.”
Starting pitcher Maddy MacKenzie gave up four hits, walked seven and struck out one in seven innings to pick up the win.