With five games under their belt, the San Gabriel Valley All-Stars have still just had two practices and yet they’ve produced four wins to one loss, with the latest victory coming Friday evening against San Benito, 7-2, in the second round of play in the Pacific Southwest Regional in Modesto.
“The kids are doing a good job, they’re a pleasure to coach,” said SGV skipper Phil Torres, who’s also the Crescenta Valley High coach. “They’re easy to coach because they’re all good ballplayers. It’s just about getting them all on the same page.”
Torres characterized Friday’s game as “kinda sloppy,” with both teams tallying a pair of errors, while SGV left “too many” runners on base.
Still, San Gabriel Valley, coached by a staff of Crescenta Valley High coaches and featuring myriad local players, led 5-2 going into the sixth when Raul Camas (Glendale Community College) hit a two-run home run to provide even more breathing room.
Niko Lopez got the start and went three innings, with Cal Christiansen (GCC) coming on in relief to get the win and Chris Butcher notching the save after 2 1/3 innings of work.
Nick Carino tallied a double, Wes Walker (Crescenta Valley) had a pinch hit for the second game in a row and Alex Labor ended the game with a stellar catch in left field in which he then turned and threw to double up a runner all the way back at first base.
“It was pretty sweet,” Torres said.
San Benito was the Pacific Southwest reigning champion and now SGV will move on to an 8 p.m. semifinal Saturday against Stanislaus or Kings Tulare.
“The longer we play together, the more this stuff will smooth itself out,” Torres said.
Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.