GLENDALE — A day after suffering its first loss in the Southern California Championship Divisional, the members of the Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star softball team were back at practice determined to make improvements.
Several athletes took batting practice, while others worked on their fielding technique during a practice session late Thursday afternoon at Glorietta Park.
Crescenta Valley will look to keep its season alive when it meets the winner of a Thursday contest between Pomona and Hesperia in a tournament elimination game at 7 p.m. Friday at Harvey Field in Jurupa Valley.
The winner of Friday's contest will face Tri-Valley, which registered an 18-14 win against Crescenta Valley on Wednesday, in the tournament's championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday at the same venue. An if-necessary contest would be played at 4 p.m. Sunday at Harvey Field if Tri-Valley was to lose.
Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Bitetti, who piloted his team to District 16 and Section 2 championships, said his squad is up to the task of winning three games in a row to pick up another crown.
"We know what we have to do," Bitetti said. "Leading up to Wednesday's game, we'd been playing very well and limiting our mistakes.
"We just didn't do some things well the other night. We struggled a bit on defense and we made some base-running mistakes. Let's hope we got that out of our system and get back to playing well. No matter who we play, I think it will be a good game."
Crescenta Valley finished with nine hits Wednesday, getting two apiece from Natalie Bitetti and Esther Choi. Crescenta Valley had earlier won tournament games against Bellflower by forfeit on July 12 and Culver City on Sunday before stumbling Wednesday.
Crescenta Valley first baseman Alex Schwalbach, who scored a pair of runs Wednesday, said her team will look to bounce back.
"We just have to worry about this game," Schwalbach said. "I don't like to think about the last game.
"We just have to focus on the things we do well and go from there. Usually, when we play good defense, we win games."
Crescenta Valley third baseman Karlie Vinceri agreed with Schwalbach.
"We know we have to play better defense," said Vinceri, who reached base safely in four plate appearances Wednesday. "Having a good hitting team and one that plays good defense is the perfect package to have right now."