ARCADIA — The Crescenta Valley Little League All-Stars kicked off the 10-11-year old Section 2 Baseball tournament with an exciting come-from-behind win on Saturday, but Pasadena Southwest Little League certainly didn’t make it easy.
Pasadena Southwest took a two-run lead into the fifth inning and responded to a Crescenta Valley game-tying rally in the fifth by going back up by two runs entering the sixth.
But the host team couldn’t stop Crescenta Valley from rallying with four runs in the sixth, punctuated by a game-winning single from Christian Castaneda that led to an 8-6 victory at Longden Field in Arcadia.
“I personally was kind of nervous [in the sixth inning] because I’ve been in that situation,” said Castaneda, who singled on a 2-2 count to drive in Zachary Burch for a 7-6 lead with one out in the sixth inning. “It’s over with and we can just focus on the next game.”
In Saturday’s game, Crescenta Valley caught up with Pasadena Southwest, 4-4, on a fifth-inning single by Brodie Felkel that scored courtesy runner Matt Erickson before going on to load the bases with two outs.
Those runners would be stranded, however, and when Pasadena quickly answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, it looked as if Crescenta Valley may have missed its best chance to take its first lead since the second inning.
But it didn’t take Crescenta Valley long to get another rally going in the top of the sixth after Anders Simmeth led off the inning with a double.
Simmeth took third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield single by Kyle Tavizon, who would score the tying run on a ball-four wild pitch to Felkel three batters later.
Castaneda’s go-ahead RBI was followed by a Jack Reilly groundout that plated Felkel for an insurance run going into the bottom of the sixth.
The final frame was not without tension, as Felkel allowed a single and a walk with two outs before closing the door by inducing a game-ending groundout.
“I think our bats took a while to warm up,” Crescenta Valley Manager Todd Erickson said, “and this group of kids who have been together for basically just three games kind of gelled, didn’t give up and got the hits at the appropriate time.”
Crescenta Valley, which used Tanner Dunning, Tavizon, Jacob Martinez and winning pitcher Felkel on the mound, led 2-0 after half an inning.
That lead, which came courtesy of wild pitches that allowed Simmeth and Tavizon to score, was short-lived.
Pasadena Southwest scored on an RBI single by Bing Banta in the bottom of the first inning before adding two more unanswered runs in the bottom of the second.
“My hat’s off to Pasadena, [they’re] a tough team,” Todd Erickson said. “But the boys didn’t give up [Saturday] down by two.
“We had a few errors, a little shakiness in the beginning of the game and our bats came alive late.
“We were kind of lucky to squeak that one by.”
Crescenta Valley played Quartz Hill in the second round on Sunday and, with a win in that game, would play at Longden Field on Wednesday at 5 p.m. and Monday at 5 p.m. in the event of a loss.