MONTROSE — For much of the first 3 1/2 innings of Saturday’s 10-11-year old Softball Section 2 Tournament ‘if necessary’ championship game at Montrose Park, Crescenta Valley Little League could seemingly do no wrong.
But once Quartz Hill’s bats heated up and momentum began to noticeably switch sides, both the offense and defense that came so easily to Crescenta Valley in the early going suddenly became difficult.
Over the final three innings Crescenta Valley saw all of an eight-run lead dissipate before Quartz Hill finally scored the winning run on a pair of errors to take the championship with a 9-8 victory.
“We know they’re gonna hit — Quartz Hill is a good team,” Crescenta Valley Manager Mike Meyer said. “But when there’s a couple of errors that happen and we don’t react the right way, that’s when we get into trouble.
“When we start throwing the ball [away], that’s not the kind of team we are. We’ve got to do the right thing, it’s just that sometimes the adrenaline gets up for these 10- and 11-year olds and things get a little out of hand.”
Things began to unravel for Crescenta Valley during Quartz Hills’ six-run fourth inning.
A Crescenta Valley fielding error got Quartz Hill started and soon it had the bases loaded with one out.
A single by Tanna Medina knocked in Quartz Hill’s first run of the game, to make it 8-1, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.
An RBI double by Hannah Cheek and an RBI single by Carissa Pacheco, as well as a run-scoring error on a bunt attempt, allowed Quartz Hill to cut deep into the lead and make a new game of it.
Back-to-back fielding errors by Quartz Hill allowed Crescenta Valley to get Tiffany Briscoe and Haille Cota aboard with no outs in the bottom of the fifth, but Kassi Sanchez, who pitched a complete game for the win, stranded both.
Quartz Hill added one more run in the fifth, but Crescenta Valley again missed an opportunity to pad the lead when another two base runners were left on in the top of the sixth.
The bottom of the sixth was brief, as Crescenta Valley starter Paige Trestrail didn’t record an out before two runs scored on the final play of the game.
“She pitched a great game,” Meyer said of Trestrail. “She’s taking this loss pretty hard, but she shouldn’t because that was a fantastic effort.”
Crescenta Valley took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, keyed by Melanie Abzun’s leadoff double.
In the third inning, a two-run double by Cota put Crescenta Valley up, 3-1, and Abzun, Briscoe and Cota each had RBI hits in the third, where the lead grew to 8-0.
“This only the third game they’ve ever played together and they played pretty darn good,” Meyer said. “I’m proud of every one of them.”