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Relay goes long way for Burbank Major softball in title victory

Relay goes long way for Burbank Major softball in title victory
Burbank Major softball pitcher Lauren Cristobal uncorks a pitch Wednesday against Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans at Tujunga Little League Fields. (Libby Cline)

TUJUNGA — It took a pair of perfect throws for the Burbank Major softball team to win a well-earned championship.

It also took some determination and concentration from Burbank catcher Shelby Cribbs to make a heads-up play and perfect tag with the title up for grabs in the final inning.

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Burbank held on for a 4-3 victory over Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans in the title game of the Little League District 16 Tournament of Champions contest at Tujunga Little League Fields on Wednesday. Burbank won the two-team series, 2-0.

It was settled on the final play off the game.

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Crescenta Valley’s Kayla Archuleta singled to center field with two outs and Heaven Marquez on second base. Center fielder Phoebe Spangler threw the ball in to pitcher Lauren Cristobal, who relayed the ball to Cribbs. Cribbs tagged Marquez out to preserve the win.

“It’s a bang-bang play and there were two great throws made,” Cribbs said. “Once she hit the ball, I knew they were going to send the runner because there were two outs. You have no idea what’s going to happen.

“These are the kind of plays that we practice a lot and it showed today. It was two good teams playing hard out there. I’m glad we were able to win.”

Burbank, which began the tournament with an 8-7 win Monday at Tujunga, held a 4-1 lead Wednesday.

“They had won the last two titles, so we knew it would be some tough games coming up,” Burbank manager Eddie Aceves said. “It came down to the last play and that’s the way you want it to be.

“It feels so good to win it and we have a lot of respect for them. [Spangler] is our other catcher and she made a great throw to Lauren. We’re glad it worked out with Shelby making a nice play to catch the relay and make the tag.”

Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans coach Cesar Ascencio said he didn’t regret sending Marquez home.

“A couple of inches either way, Heaven scores and it’s a tie game,” Ascencio said. “Maybe she misread the ball a little bit, but I liked her hustle and I liked the way we battled back and left it all out there.

“You just have to tip your cap to Burbank for making that play at the end.”

Burbank opened the scoring with two runs in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Tawnie Ohrt looped a single to left that scored Deanna Aceves and Cristobal.

Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans sliced the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on a single by Chloe Chan that brought home Lily Hinkle.

Burbank capitalized on a couple of Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans errors in the third to make it 4-1. Spangler scored on an error by the shortstop to give Burbank a 3-1 lead and an error later in the inning by the right fielder extended the advantage to 4-1.

Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans made it 4-2 in the fourth on a groundout by Paola Cano that scored Chan. It pulled to within 4-3 in the fifth on a triple by Hinkle that scored Natalie Ascencio.

Ohrt and Vicky Cristobal finished with two hits each for Burbank. Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans received two hits apiece from Hinkle and Chan.

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