With only two seniors graduating from last year’s third-place squad, Monrovia entered this season as the La Cañada High School varsity softball team’s biggest challenge in the Rio Hondo League.
“Approaching a game like this, we just had to win every inning to win the game,” said LCHS pitcher Holly Stoner. “That’s how we came into it. We were excited for this game, especially because it was our first league game at home.”
The top half of the Spartan lineup rose to the occasion and powered La Cañada past the visiting Wildcats, 7-2, last Friday.
Alexis Abboud, Madeline Reilly, Emily Tinkham and Gillian Arnold combined to go 9-for-13 with three doubles, four RBIs, five runs and two walks.
“We’ve all been working really hard to earn our spots in the top four,” said Arnold, who collected three hits, hit a double and drove in two runs. “It feels good and also stressful, but I think it’s good to know the people behind me will always be there to pick me up. I think we have a good lineup all the way through.”
Reilly put an aggressive La Cañada (6-1 overall record, 2-0 in league) on the board in the bottom of the first, singling in Abboud, who opened the frame with a double. Reilly crossed home plate minutes later on a hard-hit single from Arnold for a two-run lead.
Monrovia (6-9-1 overall, 2-1 in league) responded in the top of the second with a run from Maya Martinez, who scored on a passed ball.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that was as close as they got against the home team. The Spartans’ powerful lineup mustered three runs in the bottom of the third to pull away. Arnold blasted a double to drive in Abboud, and Taryn Harris singled in Arnold to give La Cañada 4-1 advantage. Harris later crossed home plate on a double from Abby Au.
“Everyone on the team has the ability to hit it over the fence,” Stoner said. “It’s a really cool thing. We approach every inning as if everyone is going to get a hit, and pass that on to get more runs. It’s one of our best qualities.”
The runs produced in the third were enough for La Cañada’s ace. Stoner went the distance and allowed two runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out 11.
Abboud finished the game with three hits and two runs, Tinkham was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run and Reilly contributed a double, two runs and one RBI.
The Spartans will take a break and return to action hosting Temple City in a league game on Wednesday, April 5, at 3:30 p.m.
Stoner wasn’t concerned with the long time off and is confident her teammates will put in the work during the break.
“I think it will be a good week off if everyone puts in the work at home and comes back hungry to win games and the league,” she said. “This team is special. We have a lot of key players and we play very well together. We just know how to pick each other up and know how to win games.”
Flintridge Prep 15
Mark Keppel 5
The Rebels scored early and often to defeat host Alhambra Mark Keppel, 15-5, in a nonleague game on Tuesday.
Libby Penn and Olivia Steven led Prep with each hitter going 3-for-4 and driving in three runs. Maya Vasquez was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Therese Oshiro went the distance and picked up her fourth win of the season.
Flintridge Prep (4-3 overall, 1-1 in league) will his Lynwood Firebaugh in a Prep League game today at 3:30 p.m.
Mission Hills Alemany 10
Flintridge Sacred Heart 3
The Tologs fell to visiting Mission Hills Alemany, 10-3, in the teams’ Mission League opener on Tuesday.
Flintridge Sacred Heart (9-2 overall, 0-1 in league) will look to bounce back at home against Los Angeles Marlborough today at 3:30 p.m.