GLENDALE — One team’s untimely miscues were the other’s fortune in the championship game of the District 16 Minor Softball Knockout Tournament between Crescenta Valley Ample Power and Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans Arnol’s Angels on Sunday at Scholl Canyon.
Arnol’s prevailed, 7-2, capitalizing on critical errors for three unearned runs, including their first two that knotted the contest. Ample Power did not lead again thereafter.
While the Arnol’s Angels put the bat on the ball, ran the bases relentlessly when drawing walks and put the pressure on Crescenta Valley’s defense, Ample Power managed to spray just two hits in a game that had three combined.
“We’ve worked on that all season,” Arnol’s Manager Cesar Ascencio said of the base running. “It’s part of our repertoire. We took advantage of some mistakes, but our job is to execute no matter what the other team does.”
Both teams received a strong performance from their respective pitchers, Ample Power’s Kaitlyn Dunford and JC/JWV’s Emily Zuniga. The two combined to allow three hits and strike out 23.
Zuniga held the Ample Power bats at bay, just three days after Ample Power scored 13 runs against Foothill Two Guys to put Brett Ramaker’s squad in the title game.
“One of those days where a couple errors kill you,” Ramaker said. “Our girls made some nice plays otherwise and played great defense overall. We didn’t get the hits we needed to get the kids around the bases and didn’t execute at the plate. There was nothing in their pitching that we haven’t seen.”
Crescenta Valley struck first on a passed ball in the first inning that allowed Sofia Reddersdorf to score and give her team a 1-0 lead. Dunford helped her own cause with an RBI single in the second that plated leadoff hitter Brittany Ramaker before Zuniga struck out the side.
Unfortunately for Ample Power, its bats would not threaten again until the sixth inning when it loaded the bases, to little avail, however, as Zuniga recorded her 12th strikeout and secured the win.
“We knew she could pitch,” Ascencio said. “We just needed to show her that it’s mental. As coaches, we can only practice with her, but it’s up to her to execute what she’s practiced. She started off shaky, but she got her fundamentals, hunkered down and gave an awesome performance.”
The two-run lead in the third inning looked as though it would be enough for Zuniga’s counterpart, Dunford, who was cruising until JC-JWV picked up four runs with two outs in the third. Sophie Bruno’s single to center was the team’s only hit of the day and it scored Hailey Bolton to break the 2-2 tie and give the Angels a lead that would not be relinquished.
The Angels continued playing solid small ball in the fourth, scoring two runs on a pair of passed balls. Both Leilani Laurel and Alaina Melgar drew walks in the inning. Laurel stole second and advanced to third and eventually home on passed balls. Melgar dashed for second on her walk and also scored on consecutive passed balls.
Bruno picked up her second run in the fifth to increase the Arnol’s lead to 7-2, where it would stand despite Ample Power’s Hayley Neale, Carly Martin and Sofia Bentivegna reaching base with two outs in the sixth on a pair of errors and Zuniga’s seventh walk.
Bentivegna and Dunford notched the two hits for Crescenta Valley.
“Ample Power is a great team with outstanding players,” said Ramaker, who will coach the Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star team. “They’re all hitters, and they’re all softball players.”
Ascencio wanted to thank the parents and coaches for supporting his team and said they would not be champions without them.
“We started off not executing early in the season, but now we’re here — champions of the District 16 Minor Softball Tournament,” he said.