Crescenta Valley Junior All-Stars reach Section 2 title contest

LA CRESCENTA — Though he felt the sting from being hit by two pitches in the batter's box, it didn't hinder JD Schaffer.

On the mound and inside the batter's box, the Crescenta Valley Little League Junior Baseball All-Star looked quite comfortable and in command.

Schaffer had two hits and drove in four runs and pitched six sharp innings to propel Crescenta Valley to a 9-3 win against Encino in a winner's-bracket game of the Section 2 Tournament on Monday at Dunsmore Park.

Crescenta Valley will meet Encino, San Marino or Tehachapi at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the championship game at Dunsmore. An if-necessary title contest would be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the same venue. The tournament winner will advance to the Division 3 North Tournament, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday against the Section 1 champion at Tehachapi Little League Field.

"You just try to find a way to get locked in and do what you can," said Schaffer, who had a pair of clutch two-out hits. "It's a big thing to get to the championship game and it's just a great accomplishment.

"I have a good defense playing behind me, so I know they can make the plays. You try to put yourself in a good situation when you are up with two outs."

Schaffer struck out four and limited Encino to five hits during a 93-pitch performance. At the plate, he went two for three and was hit by pitches in the third and seventh innings.

Schaffer had a run-scoring infield single to third on a 3-2 pitch to give Crescenta Valley a 3-2 lead in the fourth. He then had a bases-clearing double to center with two outs in the fifth to pad the advantage to 9-2.

"He had a real good game pitching and hitting," said Crescenta Valley Manager Bryan Rich, who piloted Crescenta Valley to the District 16 championship. "It's great to see him help himself out.

"He developed a lot of confidence getting guys out by getting ahead in the count. Then he had some big hits."

Crescenta Valley, which opened the tournament Sunday with an 8-2 victory against Tehachapi, took a 2-0 lead in the third. An error by the third baseman made it 1-0 before Drew Atherton sliced a run-scoring triple just inside the right-field line to make it 2-0. Atherton, a catcher, paced Crescenta Valley with three hits.

Encino, which won the District 40 crown, scored a pair of runs in its half of the third to knot it at 2. Schaffer gave Crescenta Valley a 3-2 lead in the fourth with his infield single. Nick Tralongo (two hits) then followed with a two-run single to left to make it 5-2

Michael Chung of Crescenta Valley had a run-scoring single to give his squad a 6-2 lead in the fifth. Schaffer then had a bases-loaded double to complete the scoring for Crescenta Valley.

Atherton, who reached base safely four times, said Schaffer ignited Crescenta Valley on the mound.

"The first inning was a little rough for him, but then he eventually started to hit my glove," Atherton said. "He seemed to have a good two-strike approach."


Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .

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