STORY: A perfect game was all that was missing in Lauren O’Leary’s already unrivaled resume.
Three times this season, perfection eluded the La Ca ada High School senior, the most recent occasion in last week’s regular-season finale against Rio Hondo League foe South Pasadena.
O’Leary’s thought process Thursday was there was no thought process at all. It was only after striking out the last batter that the crowd’s celebration reminded her of the elusive feat.
O’Leary struck out 12 in recording her first career perfect game and earned her 21st victory to lead the Spartans to a 9-0 win over Ramona Convent in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.
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FIRST ROUND SCORES
Arcadia 4, La Sierra 3
La Salle 3, Covina 2
El Segundo 2, Monrovia 0
Torrance 4, South Pasadena 3
St. Bonaventure 4, Temple City 2
Gabrielino at Long Beach Cabrillo, 3:30
Flintridge Prep at Vasquez
FIRST ROUND SCORES
La Canada 9, Ramona Convent 0
Keppel 11, Cantwell-Sacred Heart 1
Barstow 5, Temple City 4
Alhambra 3, Duarte 2
San Marino 3, Nipomo 1
Calvary Chapel/Santa Ana 7, Monrovia 5
Flintridge Prep 2, Santa Paula 1
San Gabriel Mission 3, Boron 0
Rio Hondo Prep 14, Capistrano Valley Chr. 4
Mayfield 7, Riverside Christian 5
Making the feat even more sweet was she accomplished perfection the day her father Dan celebrated his birthday.
“That works out pretty nicely,” La Canada coach KC Mathews said. “I don’t know if there’s a pitcher around that deserves one of those (a perfect game), and to do it in the playoffs makes it a little more special.”
O’Leary didn’t hesitate when asked if she was aware of flirting with another perfect game heading into the seventh inning.
“I wasn’t thinking about it,” she said, “because against South Pasadena I started to think about it and it got away.”
Kelsey Drange went 2 for 3 with a double and three RBIs to lead the Spartans’ bats. Aubri Thompson, Jessica Ogden and Catherine Horner each had doubles.
La Canada led 3-0 heading into the third inning when Thompson doubled to right field. Lauren Cox, playing for an ailing Shirley Drange, blooped a single and advanced to second on the throw to the infield. Drange then scored on a passed ball to make it 4-0 and move Cox to third.
Selina Mohr kept the rally going with an RBI single, followed by an Ogden walk and an Anna Edwards single. That made it 6-0 and all but sealed the victory.
“I said it all year long,” Mathews said. “Pick a game and I’ll show you a different girl that comes up big and got a clutch hit. These girls are about getting the job done and they take a lot of pride in that, hitting behind runners and getting bunts.”
Ramona Convent (12-8) coach Valerie Green said the third inning proved crucial but she was proud the girls kept fighting, including on a fifth-inning double play when Natalie Pe a caught a flyball and threw out Horner at second.
“We let one thing happen and some of the girls got their heads down,” Green said. “We came back in the end, made some incredible plays. I don’t want to say (that play) was a domino effect because we were still in the game.
“The kids saw the (La Canada) girls were getting on base and moving around, but we never gave up.”