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La Cañada High pitcher Lauren Cox delivers on expectations

With plenty resting upon her shoulders heading into her senior season, La Cañada pitcher Lauren Cox turned it all into motivation, leading Spartans to a CIF title

July 31, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Lauren Cox is the 2012 All-Area Softball Player of the Year.
Lauren Cox is the 2012 All-Area Softball Player of the… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

There was plenty of pressure on Lauren Cox coming into her senior season with the La Cañada High softball team.

It was the first time Cox would be the Spartans' primary pitcher and she was stepping into the role with a mountain of expectations facing her and the team. La Cañada entered the season atop the CIF Southern Section Division V poll, which made it the favorite to win the title for the second year in a row.

In order to do so, the Spartans would need a bounce-back season from Cox, who watched most of the 2011 championship run from the sidelines after a leg injury derailed her junior season and put Lauren O'Leary front and center in La Cañada's pitching staff.

"I think she was looking forward to it, I really do," said La Cañada Coach KC Mathews of Cox taking over as the Spartans ace. "Pitchers want the ball all the time. I have yet to run into a quality pitcher that doesn't want the ball in their hand and to be in the circle every inning of every game."

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Cox said everything leading up to her high school finale served as motivation, not pressure.

"[Last year] was definitely extremely frustrating because [the injury] was in a really painful area and it made it tough to pitch," Cox said. "I was so tired and fed up with sitting on the bench and not being able to do anything. It kind of served as motivation toward the end."

It all pushed Cox and the Spartans to another wildly successful season in which they delivered on all the expectations set before them by winning the Rio Hondo League title for the fourth year in a row and a consecutive CIF crown with another victory over Beaumont, 7-3.

Day in and day out, La Cañada relied on Cox (23-3) in the circle, as she pitched 191 1/3 innings — all but 19 — and, according to Maxpreps, struck out the most batters in the CIF Southern Section and third most in the state with 321. La Cañada finished the season with a 26-4-1, 10-1-1 in league record.

"This year was definitely awesome," said Cox, who also batted .286 (eight for 28) with eight runs batted in and a homer. "I didn't necessarily expect to win [CIF]; obviously I had high hopes, but all the girls stepped up. …We lost a good portion of our team so it was one of those things you thought it would be a negative, but our team was so strong this year and everyone worked so much harder. Having won [CIF] and played in it, the feeling was absolutely incredible."

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