SIERRA MADRE – A game-winning double in the bottom of the sixth inning from Quartz Hill Little League 10-11 baseball's Connor Gregory thwarted a rally from the visiting Crescenta Valley All-Stars in Thursday afternoon's Section 2 Tournament.
District 16 champion Crescenta Valley trailed by five runs twice, pulled even, but fell, 12-11, in elimination bracket action at Sierra Madre's Heasley Field.
The loss ended the season for Crescenta Valley, which went 0-2 in the Section 2 Tournament and finished with a 3-3 postseason mark after winning the District 16 title.
"We just couldn't get over the hump today, unfortunately," Crescenta Valley coach Kevin Deitch said. "I really feel confident that if we could have got into extra innings, we would have taken it, but it just didn't work out."
Thursday marked Crescenta Valley's fourth elimination contest this postseason, with the squad having won the previous three games.
Despite trailing by deficits of 6-1 and 8-3, Crescenta Valley pulled even at 11 heading to the bottom of the sixth.
Though Quartz Hill's first batter, Donavan Chau, singled to open the inning, Crescenta Valley reliever Brody Ruyle responded with two consecutive outs.
The visitors nearly escaped and forced extra innings if not for the efforts of Gregory, who laced a first-pitch fastball into the left-center gap for a double. A 7-6-2 relay to the plate sailed over the backstop as Chau scored the game-winning run.
"We thought we were going to come back and win because we had the bats going," Crescenta Valley right fielder Holden Deitch said. "So, it's sad to lose."
Crescenta Valley's offense was opportunistic, to say the least.
The District 16 champs scored 11 runs on only four hits, while Quartz Hill plated its 12 scores on 12 hits.
The difference, though, was that Quartz Hill aided the Crescenta Valley cause with 10 walks, four wild pitches, three hit batters and seven errors.
Crescenta Valley went down, 6-1, after one inning, but tied the score at 11 in the top of fifth.
In the fifth, Crescenta Valley erased an 11-8 deficit by scoring three runs with only one hit – a single from Holden Deitch (one run batted in and one run scored).
Quartz Hill reliever Chau walked three batters, with two scoring on two errors on the same play. The lone run batted in came on a groundout to short from Jake Rendo.
Nearly all of Crescenta Valley's rallies were similar.
Down, 6-1, Crescenta Valley responded with two runs in the second thanks to two errors.
After Quartz Hill scored two runs in the bottom of the second to take an 8-3 lead, Crescenta Valley countered with four runs in the third.
The lone hit in the inning was a run-scoring single from Andrew DiPietre. Bases-loaded walks to Andy Saryan (three walks and three runs) and Joe Risso (two runs) along with a bases-loaded plunking of Carson Kelly (two runs and one RBI) accounted for the inning's other three runs as Crescenta Valley climbed within 8-7.
Quartz Hill added three runs in the third, two coming off a single from Nick Casanova (four RBIs and one run), to go ahead, 11-7, after three.
Crescenta Valley added one run in the fourth and three in the fifth to pull even. Crescenta Valley starting pitcher Tyler Cofre also tossed a scoreless fourth and fifth inning, which allowed his team to tie the game at 11 heading to the sixth.
While Crescenta Valley was held scoreless in the sixth, Quartz Hill was not.
"It was fun playing with a few friends on the team," Cofre said, "but it was also fun playing with new people, too. It was a good experience."