Los Angeles Preps: La Canada

La CanadaMartin Henderson/For ESPNLA.comLa Canada won its second consecutive CIF-SS Division 5 softball championship over Beaumont.

IRVINE -- After winning a Southern Section title in 2011 by one run, La Canada's victory Saturday in the rematch was a walk in the park.

Behind pitcher Lauren Cox and an offense that capitalized on its opportunities, top-seeded La Canada scored a 7-3 victory against second-seeded Beaumont on Saturday at Barber Park .

Cox (24-3) struck out 10 and carried a two-hitter into the seventh inning, when she gave up three, including a two-run homer to Khassady Valdivia.

She hit one batter.

It's the third title for La Canada (26-4-1), which won in 1995 as well as 2011. Beaumont, which lost last year's title game to the Spartans, 1-0, finished 26-5.

Beaumont's rally was too little too late, even though there was a stretch in which four out of five batters hit the ball deep into the outfield.

The consistency in the La Canada lineup provided far more offense than it did in last year's 1-0 victory over Beaumont in the title game. The top six batters in the lineup had scored or had at least one run batted in, and the top eight batters either scored or had a hit.

Catherine Horner scored three runs, Kelsey Drange had three hits, three RBIs and scored a run; and Jessica Ogden had two hits, a run and two RBIs.

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La Canada's Lauren Cox strikes out 20

May, 24, 2012
Lauren CoxTim Haddock/For ESPNLA.comLa Canada pitcher Lauren Cox continued her dominant season in a quarterfinal playoff win.

La Canada pitcher Lauren Cox struck out 20 batters and tossed a one-hit, 7-0, shutout against Mary Star of the Sea in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 softball playoffs on Thursday.

La Canada coach KC Mathews said he was not sure if Cox’s 20-strikeout performance was a school record, but he can’t imagine a pitcher striking out 21 batters in a seven-inning game.

“It’s her personal best,” Mathews said. “I don’t think we’ve ever come close to 20 strikeouts.”

Cox walked three and hit one batter.

Selina Mohr went 3-for-4 and reached on an error. She scored three runs for La Canada. Katy Lee had two hits, walked twice and scored two runs. She drove in a run on a squeeze bunt.

Catherine Horner was 2-for-5 with a double and scored a run.

Jessica Ogden drove in two runs with a double in the first inning.

La Canada will play Nipomo in the semifinals at La Canada High on Tuesday.

The La Canada softball team is the No. 1 team in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs, but coach K.C. Mathews said he isn’t too concerned about rankings in the middle of May.

“We talk about setting goals and we want to be playing late in May,” Mathews said. “Our goal is to be playing softball in June. We want to come out and play the best softball we can each and every day.”

La Canada will play the winner of the wild-card game between Lompoc and Gladstone.

With senior Lauren Cox in the circle, the Spartans (21-4-1) have been nearly unbeatable. Cox (19-3) has 15 shutouts, a 0.63 ERA and 254 strikeouts in 156 1/3 innings. Teams are hitting .099 against her.

“The pitching that we have, we have a chance against everybody,” Mathews said. “Our lineup, somebody different is getting it done every game.”

La Canada is hitting .312 as a team. Catcher Catherine Horner and infielder Alyssa Stolmack lead the team with four home runs apiece. Horner is hitting .450 with 28 RBIs. Stolmack, who has a 2-1 record as a pitcher, is hitting .305 with 17 RBIs.

Annie Monroe is batting .349 with nine stolen bases and has scored 17 runs.

In the Division 1 softball playoffs, Norco earned the top seed.

West Ranch, the Foothill League champion, is the No. 7 team in the Division 1 poll and opens the playoffs against El Modena on Thursday.

Simi Valley opens playoffs against the winner of the wild-card game between Riverside Poly and Foothill.

Saugus plays La Palma Kennedy in the first round.

In the Division 2 playoffs, Mission Viejo is the No. 1 seed. Camarillo is the No. 2 seed and will play the winner of the wild-card game between Diamond Bar and Rialto.

Click here for the rest of the CIF Southern Section softball playoff brackets.

Four swimmers within 50 freestyle record

May, 10, 2012

Three swimmers are within a second of the CIF Southern Section Division I meet record in the girls 50-yard freestyle.

The leader of the trio is a freshman at Saugus High School, a relative newcomer to swimming who is headed to the U.S. Olympic Trials in June to compete in two events.

Abbey Weitzeil is the top seed in the 50 freestyle for the Southern Section Division I meet at Riverside City College. Her top time is 23.38 seconds.

The record is 22.75 seconds set by Courtney Cashion of Irvine High in 2004. Lynrea Baudino from Los Alamitos and Kaitlyn Albertoli from JSerra are within a second of Cashion’s record. La Canada’s Sarah Olson is the fourth seed in the 50 freestyle at 23.80 seconds.

Weitzeil, who is also qualified in the 100 freestyle for the Division I championships, is making quite a splash in the high school swim scene. She didn’t start swimming at the club level until she was in the seventh grade. She has competed at the national level for less than a year.

Her coach said Weitzeil is far from flawless in the 50 freestyle. But she is extremely talented and that helps her overcome a lot of mistakes.

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La Canada softball pitchers combine on no-hitter

May, 8, 2012

TEMPLE CITY -- The right arm of Lauren Cox has been carrying the La Canada softball team all season. Cox and Alyssa Stolmack combined on a no-hitter against Temple City and won the Rio Hondo League championship at Temple City High School on Monday.

Cox started the game, went five innings and walked only one batter. Her catcher, Catherine Horner, provided the pop with a two-run home run and the Spartans shut out Temple City, 7-0.

“We know we don’t have to get Lauren too many runs,” La Canada coach K.C. Mathews said. “She’s been fantastic in the circle all year long. She does a tremendous job. Our pitching has been our strength.”

Cox wasn’t necessarily dominate -- she struck out only four batters -- but retired the first 11 batters she faced. The only player to reach base against her was Kristin Hudak with a two-out walk in the fourth inning.

Stolmack relieved Cox in the sixth inning and pitched two perfect innings to complete the no-hitter. She also added some sock at the plate, hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning.

“She’s strong. She’s got strong legs,” Mathews said. “When she gets a hold of one, it’s going to go.”

Horner hit a two-run home run that bounced off the top of the fence in left field in the fifth inning to give La Canada a 5-0 lead.

La Canada (19-4-1), the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 poll, scored one run in the first inning and two more in the second inning to give Cox an early 3-0 lead. The only drawback in the game for La Canada was that the team left nine runners on base.

“We just kept nibbling and nibbling and didn’t take advantage of all our opportunities,” Mathews said. “We left quite a few runners on base. If we don’t clean that up a little bit in the playoffs, it’s going to hurt.”

Temple City (6-17) dropped to 2-7 in Rio Hondo League play.

Report: La Canada hires football coach

March, 29, 2012
James Sims has been hired as the new football coach at La Canada High School, according to a report on the MidValleySports.com website.

Sims coached at Hawthorne High School in Jacksonville, Fla., last season and compiled a 75-63 record in 12 years as a high school football coach.

Dan Yoder coached La Canada to a 3-7 record and was 2-3 in the Rio Hondo League last season.

Oxnard earns No. 5 seed in Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs

February, 12, 2012
The Oxnard boys basketball team is the fifth-seeded team in the CIF Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs and will play Quartz Hill in the first round Friday night.

The playoff pairings for the Southern Section playoffs were released Sunday.

Calabasas, the champion of the Marmonte League, is the No. 1 seed in Division 3AA. The Coyotes have a bye in the first round of the playoffs and will play the winner of the Hueneme-Palos Verdes game.

Alemany, the Mission League champion, is the No. 1 seed in Division 3A and will play Artesia in the first round Wednesday.

Providence of Burbank is the No. 1 seed in Division 5A and has a bye in the first round. The Pioneers will play the winner of the New Roads-Villanova Prep game.

Renaissance Academy is the top seed in the Division 6 playoffs and plays Santa Monica Academy on Wednesday.

Crescenta Valley is the No. 4 seed in the Division 1A playoffs and plays Colton in the first round on Friday.

Canyon earned the No. 2 seed in Division 2AA playoffs and will play Godinez in the first round on Friday.

San Marcos is the No. 2 seed in Division 3AA playoffs and plays Hawthorne on Wednesday. La Canada, the No. 3 seed in the Division 3AA playoffs and the reigning Division 3AA champion, has a bye in the first round and plays the winner of the Pacifica-Northwood game.

Oak Park is the No. 3 seed in the Division 3A playoffs and plays Littlerock in the first round.

Village Christian is the No. 2 seed in the Division 5AA playoffs and plays Bellarmine-Jefferson in the first round.

Loyola-OLu tops State Preview Classic

January, 24, 2012
The schedule for Saturday's State Preview Classic at Fairfax High School is out, and the all-day event includes a handful of exciting matchups.

10:30 a.m. - La Caņada vs. Oceanside El Camino
12 p.m. - Notre Dame vs. San Diego Francis Parker
1:30 p.m. - Alemany vs. Santa Monica
3 p.m. - Harvard-Westlake vs. Torrey Pines
4:30 p.m. - Price vs. Windward
6:30 p.m. - Fairfax vs. Gardena Serra
8 p.m. - Loyola vs. Orange Lutheran

Time Warner Cable's local channel 101 will air the Fairfax-Serra game on Sunday at 9 p.m. and Tuesday, Jan. 31 at noon. The Loyola-OLu game will air Monday at noon and again Saturday, Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.

Coaching changes at La Canada, Bell-Jeff

December, 19, 2011
La Canada's football coach resigned and Bellarmine-Jefferson has a new football coach.

Dan Yoder stepped down as head coach of the La Canada football team, ending his three-year stint at the helm, according to a report in the Daily News.

David Machuca was hired as the new football coach at Bell-Jeff. He was an assistant at Chaminade for three season under head coach Ed Croson.

Machuca takes over for Rolando Aguirre, who was the head coach at Bell-Jeff for 13 seasons.

L.A. North: Boys' basketball Top 10

December, 6, 2011
Here is the top-10 boys basketball teams in the L.A. North region. The teams are ranked with their 2010 records in parantheses:
  1. Harvard-Westlake (29-5) – The Wolverines won the Southern Section Division 3A championship and advanced to the semifinals of the Southern California Regional in the CIF State Division 3 playoffs last year. Harvard-Westlake has two talented seniors returning. Zena Edosomwan averaged 17.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in his junior season. He scored 11 points and had 15 rebounds against Inglewood in the championship game of the Southern Section Division 3A playoffs. Josh Hearlihy averaged 14.5 points per game in his junior season. Sophomore forward Derick Newton has already made an impact with Harvard-Westlake, dropping 30 points on Dominguez on Saturday (Dec. 3). He was 8-for-10 from the field and 11-for-13 from the free-throw line.
    Key returners: Edosomwan (senior forward), Hearlihy (senior guard).
    Key newcomers: Newton (sophomore forward), Alex Copeland (freshman guard).
    Can’t-miss games: Harvard-Westlake vs. Loyola at Roybal Learning Center (Jan. 13), Harvard-Westlake at Crespi (Jan. 20), Alemany at Harvard-Westlake (Jan. 21), Harvard-Westlake vs. Loyola at L.A. Valley College (Feb. 3).
  2. Woodland Hills Taft (29-3) – One of the key losses for Taft team is coach Derrick Taylor. He guided Taft to the City Section Division I championship last season, beating longtime nemesis Westchester, 66-62, in the title game. Jason Hart takes over a talented team, despite the loss of three key seniors. Seniors Brandon Perry and Steven Jones will anchor a promising team. They saw limited action last year, but displayed moments of brilliance. Perry averaged 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a junior. He scored a season-high 17 points against El Camino Real in a 67-36 win for Taft. Jones only scored 3.9 points per game, but had one of his best games in the CIF State Division I playoffs. He scored 10 points and was one of five players from Taft in double figures in a 94-81 loss to Centennial in the semifinals of the Southern California regional. Much of the success of this team will depend on if or when Anthony January will become eligible to play for Taft. He transferred from Compton and isn’t expected to be able to play for Taft until next month.
    Key returners: Perry (senior forward), Steven Jones (senior guard).
    Key newcomers: Hart (head coach).
    Key transfer: January (Compton).
    Can’t-miss game: Taft at El Camino Real (Jan. 11).
  3. Crespi (24-9) – The Celts lost their top scorer and floor leader, Matt Mounier, to graduation, but have three talented seniors returning. Crespi lost in the semifinals of the Southern Section Division 3A playoffs, 42-40, to Inglewood. The Celts earned a berth in the CIF State Division 3 playoffs and advanced to the second round before losing to La Canada, 43-42. Senior guard London Perrantes averaged 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season. Justin Rubia will most likely join Perrantes in the backcourt for Crespi. He averaged 7.3 points per game as a junior. Forward Michael Milligan will provide senior leadership in the frontcourt.
    Key returners: Perrantes (junior guard), Michael Avery (senior guard), Rubia (senior guard), Milligan (junior forward).
    Key newcomer: Sammy Linn (freshman guard).
    Can’t-miss games: Crespi at Alemany (Jan. 11), Harvard-Westlake at Crespi (Jan. 20), Crespi at Loyola (Jan. 23).

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L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

October, 10, 2011
  1. The most glaring stat from Westlake’s 43-21 win over Oaks Christian is the rushing yard comparison. Westlake rushed for 444 yards to Oaks Christian’s 156. Westlake had two players with more than 100 yards rushing. Quarterback Justin Moore gained 226 yards and scored a touchdown. Jarrius Bishop had 104 yards and scored a touchdown. For good measure, Dashon Hunt had 80 yards and scored a touchdown. Oaks Christian had only five runs of 12 yards or more and only two rushes of more than 20 yards. Perhaps the more telling stat from the game was the turnover ratio. Westlake forced four turnovers and did not commit any. All of Oaks Christian’s turnovers came at key moments. With Westlake up 20-14 in the second quarter, Oaks Christian drove to the Warriors 13-yard line. But Bradley Wellman picked off Brandon Dawkins and ended the Oaks Christian scoring threat. Westlake proceeded to drive 77 yards in eight plays to take a 27-14 lead on a touchdown run by Bishop. On the ensuing drive, Oaks Christian running back Ishmael Adams broke off the biggest rush of the game, a 43-yarder that gave the Lions a first-and-10 on the Westlake 37-yard line. But Westlake defensive end Johnny Stuart sacked Dawkins on the next play, forced a fumble and recovered the football to end the first half. With Westlake up 37-21 in the fourth quarter, Moore, playing defensive back, picked off Dawkins and set up one of Alex Ball’s five field goals. Jordie Hannel forced the fourth turnover by sacking Dawkins late in the fourth quarter and causing him to fumble on the Oaks Christian 22-yard line. It led to Ball’s last field goal of the game. Westlake sacked Dawkins five times in the game. Ball tied the school record with 29 field goals in his career. Jordan Mannisto, a senior at the University of Houston, kicked 29 field goals for Westlake from 2005 to '07. Ball, a senior, has kicked 12 field goals in five games this season.

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Softball championships begin today in Irvine

June, 3, 2011
Top-seeded Oaks Christian, in the finals for the first time since 2005, will face off against South Hills tonight for the Division 3 softball title in the Southern Section Championships at Barber Park in Irvine.

It's the last of three games, with four games scheduled for Saturday including the marquee Anaheim Canyon-Corona Santiago matchup in Division 1.

Oaks Christian had a remarkable run from 2001-2005 in which it won two titles and was runner-up three times. In facing South Hills, the Lions will be facing a team that was beaten in last year's championship game. The Huskies are trying to win their third title, too; they won titles in 1982 and 1997.

Here's a look at today's schedule:

Friday at Barber Park in Irvine

Division 3: South Hills (21-7) vs. No. 1 Oaks Christian (29-5), 7:30 p.m.
Oaks Christian has allowed only one run in the playoffs, a 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Chino Hills in the semifinals that required freshman reliever Kristin Cullen (8-2) to pitch out of a seventh inning jam and then have her teammates score twice in the bottom of the inning. Kiana Quolas (17-3, 0.42 ERA) handles most of the pitching duties, and she will likely be the the choice to stop the Huskies, who are brimming with confidence; they scored perhaps the most impressive victory of the playoffs, a 16-1 drubbing of second-seeded Bishop Amat. Pitcher Sydney La Follette (17-6, 3.50 ERA; .405, 31 RBIs) has been hot in the playoffs; she's batting .643 with eight RBIs and three homers in the postseason, a healthy complement to junior catcher Britney Rodriguez (.461, 33 RBIs) and school valedictorian Samantha Nieves (.432, 20 RBIs).

Division 5: No. 1 La Canada (25-3) vs. No. 2 Beaumont (25-4), 5:15 p.m.

La Canada carries a 22-game winning streak into the title game as it hopes to win its first title since 1991. The Spartans are led by Georgetown-bound pitcher Lauren O’Leary (24-2, 0.40 ERA). Northwestern-bound Anna Edwards (.465, 30 RBIs) has 11 homers for La Canada, which has outscored opponents 32-3 in the playoffs. Beaumont counters with Alyssa Fuimaono (24-4, 1.74 ERA) as the Cougars seek their first championship.

Division 7: No. 2 Bell-Jeff (22-5) vs. No. 1 Pomona Catholic (23-5), 3 p.m.

Since a 2-1 loss to West Covina on April 6, Pomona Catholic has won 14 in a row (two by forfeit) by a combined score of 234-0 -- including 81-0 in the playoffs. Amber Padilla (18-4, 0.31) has pitched back-to-back perfect games.

Saturday at Barber Park in Irvine
Division 6: Downey Calvary Chapel vs. Perris Citrus Valley, 10 a.m.
Division 4: Fontana Kaiser vs. Goleta Dos Pueblos, 12:30 p.m.
Division 2: Camarillo vs. La Mirada, 3:30 p.m.
Division 1: Anaheim Canyon vs. Corona Santiago, 6 p.m.
The Oaks Christian softball team rallied for two runs in the seventh inning and beat Chino Hills, 2-1, in the Southern Section Division III semifinal.

Karli Rumburg knocked in the game-winning run with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.

Top-seeded Oaks Christian plays South Hills in the championship game at Barber Park in Irvine on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

In the Division V playoffs, top-seeded La Canada beat South El Monte, 6-2, to advance to the championship game.

Megan Siepler and Aubri Thompson each had two hits and drove in a run for La Canada, making its first trip to a CIF championship game since 1995.

La Canada will play second-seeded Beaumont at Barber Park in Irvine on Friday at 5:15 p.m. Beaumont shut out Arroyo 4-0 in the semifinals.

Here's a look at the Southern Section softball championship games:

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LA North: La Canada's Lauren O'Leary tosses perfect game in CIF playoffs

May, 19, 2011
Lauren O'Leary meet Johnny Vander Meer.

Vander Meer is the pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds who threw consecutive no-hitters in 1938.

O'Leary, a pitcher for the La Canada softball team, threw a perfect game in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs Thursday, her second no-hitter in a row.

La Canada, the top-seeded team in Division 5, beat Ramona Convent, 9-0, to advance to the second round.

O'Leary struck out 12 and La Canada racked up 16 hits.

In the Division 3 playoffs, Kiana Quolas and Kristen Cullen combined on a no-hitter for Oaks Christian in an 8-0 win over St. Paul.

LA North: CIF Southern Section softball playoff pairings

May, 16, 2011
The Oaks Christian softball team earned the top seed in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. La Canada is the No. 1 seed in the Division 5 playoffs.

The CIF Southern Section softball playoffs begin Tuesday with wild-card games.

Here’s a look at some of the key match-ups in Division I of teams from the LA North:

Thousand Oaks (20-8) at La Palma Kennedy (12-9)

Hart (18-11) at Upland (15-9)

Yorba Linda (12-11) at Royal (16-10)

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