GLENDALE — The San Gabriel Valley 16-18 Babe Ruth All-Stars got out to a comfortable lead in their first game of the Pacific Southwest Babe Ruth Regional Tournament on Friday night, but the frenzied finish was anything but comfortable for the Southern California champions.
East Sacramento clawed its way out of a six-run deficit to pull to within one run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but San Gabriel Valley picked the would-be tying run off second base to seal a 6-5 win in Watsonville.
Former Crescenta Valley High pitcher Sean Elliott earned the save for San Gabriel Valley, preserving a win for starter Paul Paez, who pitched five innings.
“He really pitched well,” San Gabriel Valley Coach Phil Torres, who also coaches at Crescenta Valley, said of Paez. “We didn’t play our best, but we still got a win.”
San Gabriel Valley will meet Utah in a second-round winner’s-bracket game today at 5 p.m.
Crescenta Valley sophomore catcher Troy Prasertsit knocked in a run with a single and Nate Rousey had a run-scoring sacrifice fly, as San Gabriel Valley built a 4-0 lead over the first four innings against East Sacramento lefty Josh Drier out of Sacramento City College.
“He was pretty firm, throwing hard,” Torres, who has coached San Gabriel Valley to Babe Ruth World Series titles in three of the last five years, said of Drier. “They threw a pretty good guy at us tonight.”
But it wasn’t until after Drier left the game after the fourth inning that San Gabriel Valley’s bats went cold, allowing East Sacramento to get back in the game, scoring two runs in the fifth inning and adding three more in the sixth.
San Gabriel Valley also got RBIs from Tim Smoley and Cody Regis and Jerry McClanihan scored a run on a wild pitch. Crescenta Valley senior Joe Sedano started at third base and had two hits on the night.