GRANADA HILLS — It proved to be a difficult final inning for the Crescenta Valley Little League Junior All-Stars baseball team Friday.
Both halves of the inning.
Crescenta Valley surrendered three runs in the bottom of the inning and suffered a 6-5 loss to Tehachapi in its opening game of the Section 2 Tournament at Granada Hills Little League Fields.
But the top of the inning also was tough for Crescenta Valley, which appeared to have built a 6-3 lead until it was ruled a runner never touched third base, resulting in an out.
“It was a very strange game and we really didn’t play well at all,” Crescenta Valley coach David Kim said. “We played so bad and it was the worst game we’ve played during the season.”
Crescenta Valley, which won the District 16 championship, will meet District 40 Granada Hills in an elimination contest at 1 p.m. Saturday. Tehachapi, the District 51 representative, will meet District 17 Arcadia American at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Crescenta Valley appeared to be in good standing entering the seventh, leading 4-3. With runners on second and third and two outs, Brandon Sheppard singled to left to appear to make it 6-3. The third-base umpire ruled theg runner never touched third.
“It was a big play,” said Kim, whose team held a 4-0 lead in the middle of the second. “We just made a lot of base-running mistakes and it came back to get us.”
Instead, Crescenta Valley held a 5-3 lead.
Tehachapi then went to work in the bottom of the frame. It had runners on first and second with one out when Joe Fox hit a ground-rule double to left to cut the deficit to 5-4. An intentional walk loaded the bases. Camden Snell then hit an infield single off the pitcher to tie it at 5 before a suicide squeeze by Jake Wiehn scored with the winning run.
“We felt good and liked our chances going in to the seventh,” Kim said. “We walked a couple of batters and Tehachapi battled right to the end. We’re disappointed right now, but we have another game to play.”
Crescenta Valley took a 1-0 lead in the first when Will Hardy scored on a balk.
Crescenta Valley scored three runs in the second to make it 4-0. Aaron Kim had a run-scoring single to extend the lead to 2-0 and Kai Purdy-Burton followed with a two-run double with two outs to give Crescenta Valley a 4-0 advantage.
Tehachapi responded with three runs in the second. Cody Urso walked with the bases loaded to cut the deficit to 4-1. A fielder’s choice by Logan Schultz made it 4-2 before Slater Coe recorded a run-scoring single to pull Tehachapi to within 4-3.
Crescenta Valley will look to turn things around Saturday.
“We’ve got to have a short-term memory and try to bounce back,” Purdy-Burton said. “We didn’t play well as a team and we just made too many mistakes.”
Isaac Sung finished with two hits for Crescenta Valley. Fox recorded two hits for Tehachapi.
The tournament’s championship game will take place at 5 p.m. Monday and a winner-take-all contest would be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday.