TUJUNGA — For the first four innings, the Crescenta Valley 10-11 All-Star Baseball team couldn’t buy a hit.
It’s a good thing Crescenta Valley had two more innings available to reverse that trend. Crescenta Valley couldn’t have waited for a more opportune time to do so.
Crescenta Valley busted out of its cocoon by scoring nine runs in the final two innings to secure a 9-4 victory against Tujunga on Tuesday night in the District 16 Little League All-Stars Tournament at Tujunga Little League Fields.
Crescenta Valley, which outscored its opponents, 24-4, in the three-game tournament, will next face the District 51 champion in an opening-round game of the Section 2 Tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday at Rosamond Little League Field in the Antelope Valley.
Crescenta Valley’s bats began to blaze in the top of the fifth inning, which saw it push across six runs to take a 6-3 lead.
“Like every good team, we knew that we would have a battle on our hands,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Tony Tellache, whose team began the tournament Thursday with a 6-0 win against Tujunga before coming through with a 9-0 victory against Burbank on Saturday to send it to the championship contest. “I told them that we had to be there in the sixth because I thought we’d be tied going into the fifth.
“Our boys came through from top to bottom. We’ve been here before, so we knew we were going to have to stay patient [with the bats]. We knew that if we could play defense, it would pay off in the end and then our bats would be there.”
Indeed they were.
Loman Dunning reached base safely to start the fifth for Crescenta Valley. Colin Davidson was then hit by a pitch before Colin Martin broke up Tujunga starting pitcher Marlon Rizo’s no-hit bid with a bunt single to load the bases. Crescenta Valley made it 3-1 on a fielder’s choice that chased Rizo.
A wild pitch made it 3-2 before Greg Stupakis knotted the game at three with a single to right. Crescenta Valley took a 4-3 lead on a bases-loaded walk by Nico Tellache and Justin Rountree delivered a two-ruin single to extend the lead to 6-3.
Crescenta Valley pushed across two more runs in the sixth to make it 9-4, capped by a run-scoring grounder by Tellache.
Jonathan Tyler came within one out of pitching a complete game for Crescenta Valley, but was removed because he reached the tournament-imposed 85-pitch count. The right-hander struck out six before Andres Kim got the final out on a strikeout.
“You have to believe in the team and think we’ll get some hits,” Tyler said. “When we scored those runs [in the fifth], I just knew that I had to go out there by staying fresh and getting batters out.
“I felt pretty good in having control of my pitches. It means everything to me that we could win because I’ve been waiting a long time.”