By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
TEMPLE CITY — Megan Martin missed playing softball.
Sure, she played fall and travel ball, but she said she just missed playing at the high school level. She played for La Ca ada High School her freshman year, but didn’t return to the team until the recently concluded season.
And when she came back, she was content to play in the outfield, not where she typically plays in travel ball: pitcher.
“I’ve been doing it since fourth grade when I started playing softball,” she said of pitching. “I played fall ball and it reminded me how much fun softball was and I just came back.”
She had a good reason for not being able to pitch. The Spartans won their second consecutive Rio Hondo League title behind the pitching of Lauren O’Leary and Lauren Cox, who pitched in nearly every game.
“It did not really bother me,” she said. “I really like playing the outfield a lot. I knew I would play every game. Both Laurens have done phenomenal jobs. They’re great pitchers.”
The lone game they did not pitch, Martin started. She pitched four innings in a 10-2 nonleague win over Maranatha.
On Tuesday, Martin baffled Private School hitters with her change-ups and the Public team defeated the Private team for the first time, 2-0, in the Public vs. Private All-Star softball game played at Temple City’s Live Oak Park.
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“I was really relaxed,” said Martin, who hopes to play at Pasadena City College next season. “I didn’t feel I had any pressure.”
Martin struck out eight and gave up six hits. Her defense came through twice, including with the bases loaded with one out in a scoreless game in the fourth inning.
She got La Salle’s Allie Forillo to hit a grounder to Temple City shortstop Danielle Rodriguez, who forced Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Meghan Luera at the plate, and then she struck out Alverno’s Lauren Sanchez to get out of the inning.
“It happens,” Luera said of not getting home. “It wasn’t supposed to be a super-competitive game. It was supposed to be a fun game. It was great to play and meet everybody.”
Luera and Pasadena Poly’s Hannah Dunham each went 2 for 3.
“I’m not used to having empty bases,” Martin said. “That’s because of fall ball. I do well under pressure.”
When the Public team loaded the bases in the fifth, Temple City’s Lenae Sanchez delivered. Her sacrifice fly to center field scored Rodriguez, who reached base on an error.
“I got all of it,” Sanchez said. “(Maranatha’s Natalie Moreno) is a good pitcher, and I just got my hands around it real fast and just drove it like I was taught.”
Like the Public team, the Private team made an effort to get out of a jam but with less success. Arcadia’s Emily McQuaid singled against new pitcher Moreno, and Rodriguez sent a shot to right-center field. San Gabriel Mission center fielder Megan Magdaleno had to make a running catch and got to it, but the ball popped out of her glove.
Marshall’s Erika James walked to load the bases, and Alhambra’s Brittanie Garcia hit a chopper that got McQuaid at the plate. Sanchez hit a long drive to center field, which Magdaleno barely hung on to for the first run. Soon after, Monrovia’s Brooke Cowell singled to score James.
Temple City’s Sanchez won the long-distance hitting contest. She hit two home runs, one on the fourth pitch of the first round and one on the third pitch of the semifinals.
“I didn’t think I was going to win it,” she said.
“I was like, `OK, stop being negative.’ So I just hit the ball.”