LA CRESCENTA — The opening game of the 2008 District 16 Junior Baseball All-Star Tournament between the Jewel City-Jewish War Veterans All-Stars and their Foothill counterparts featured no shortage of offense.
While both teams struggled at times with their pitching and defense — struggles which extended innings and allowed for the total of 28 runs scored — at the end of the day, it was Foothill’s hitting that gave it the edge in a 19-9 win on Sunday at Dunsmore Park.
“It’s a great hitting team,” Foothill Manager Mike Conte said of his squad, which rapped out 17 hits and ended the game via mercy rule with a run scored by Tyler McGinnis from third base on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning. “I think we lost our focus a little bit there defensively, but I think we can hit with anybody.
“It’s just a matter of putting it together for seven innings and sustaining it and I think we can do that throughout this tournament.”
Foothill led by as many as nine runs on two occasions prior to the sixth inning, but took its first at bats in the bottom of the first inning down, 2-0.
Tim Bennett tripled in Jewel City leadoff hitter Juan Carbajal and scored himself on a throwing error in the top of the first.
But the game was tied up when Matthew Fylce and McGinnis both came home for Foothill on a throwing error on a ground ball hit by Tei Vanderford in the bottom of the inning.
Vanderford then scored on a single by Dillon Howard. Steven Fleming singled and Vanderford and he both scored on a bases-loaded walk and a fielding error, respectively, to give Foothill a 5-2 lead.
Leading 6-2 in the top of the third, Foothill allowed Jewel City to score two runs aided by a wild pitch and two throwing errors.
Foothill was able to mitigate the damage with another two runs in its half of the inning during a rally that was fueled by run-scoring balk followed by an RBI single by Vanderford.
The bottom of the fourth saw Foothill send 12 batters to the plate and take a 14-5 lead on RBI hits from Wesley Carl, Jason Marquez and McGinnis.
“We’re carrying 13 guys and all 13 guys can hit,” Conte said. “The subs coming off the bench, in reality, are starters [on their respective teams].”
Pitching and fielding miscues by Foothill, along with timely hitting, allowed Jewel City to slowly chip away at the lead.
Jewel City scored two runs in the fifth inning on a single by Graig Kalfayan and cut the lead to 16-9 on a two-run throwing error in the sixth inning.
A Jewel City error, a double and a hit by pitch put runners in place for Foothill’s game-ending rally in the bottom of the sixth, though, and Vanderford cashed in two runs with a double before Mc Ginnis’ winning run.
“We could have come back and been close, but one too many critical errors put us too far behind,” Jewel City Manager Tony Iezza said.
Foothill will play the Crescenta Valley All-Stars in the next round at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Dunsmore Park.