SPHS softball fails to catch up with La Cañada

Story by: Claire Mao
Staff Writer

Photo by: Sunhye (Sunny) Choi
Staff Photographer

The Tigers lost their home game to the La Cañada Spartans on Friday, April 19. The final score was 2-9.

La Cañada was first up at bat, and they faced off against junior Tiger pitcher Natalie Kan. With one La Cañada player on second base, Kan struck out a batter for the first of the Tiger’s outs. Now, the Tigers were at bat. The runner on second stole third, but Kan struck out the next two La Cañada players and closed the top of the first inning. 

Kan and sophomore Lucia Atencio both struck out for the Tigers, and senior Leila Nolasco faced similar challenges when her hit was caught for the Tigers’ last out. 

The Tigers made their first play of the second inning when they caught a grounder and threw the runner out. Again, a Spartan runner managed to get on base and make it to third. However, the Spartan was thrown out before La Cañada could score their first run.

Senior captain Danica Stirling was first up at bat for the Tigers in the second inning. Stirling accurately judged pitches and managed to walk to first after the fourth ball was called. Freshman Talula Bearden then had the first South Pasadena hit of the game and was able to secure a single, advancing junior Emma Becerra. Next up at bat was Becerra, whose hit allowed Stirling to move to third within striking distance of a run for the Tigers. Before Stirling could score, however, La Cañada got their third out and ended the inning.

Tiger players continued to strike out, and the Tigers had a hard time catching up with the Spartans. By the fifth inning, La Cañada had a seven point lead on the Tigers’ score of 0. During the fifth inning, Bearden nearly tagged out a runner after making a catch, but was just late in getting the runner out and the umpire called her safe. Once the game finished, the Tigers trailed behind La Cañada by seven points.

“Our defense wasn’t on the sharper side…and that has kept us in the game. But today, we weren’t our cleanest and that definitely hurt us,” Stirling said. “We didn’t get as many hits as we wished…our biggest challenge [was] finding the gaps on the field, and making our defense a little cleaner would have helped a lot.”

The team practices every week and hopes to be more aggressive when batting in the next game.

“We don’t like losing…but it was a tough game. We played hard…and we’re gonna come back stronger for sure,” Stirling said.

South Pasadena may have lost the game, but the team did not lose its supportive atmosphere. As innings passed by, more and more cheers erupted from the Tigers as they batted. 

“We were cheering the whole game,” Stirling said. “We were all excited to play today, [and] we had good energy. We were excited and we were cheering each other on, and that definitely helped us stay in the game.”

The team remains in high hopes and strives to beat any future opponents while cheering for the Tigers as a team together. The Tigers played their last game of the season on Friday, April 26 against the Monrovia Rams at home. At the conclusion of their game against the Spartans, the Tigers were ranked fourth in the Rio Hondo League.

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