Crescenta Valley All-Stars down Burbank for District 16 Junior championship

LA CRESCENTA — A complete game effort from its starting pitcher, coupled with timely hitting, has the Crescenta Valley Junior All-Stars in the Section 2 Tournament.

The 7-1 CV victory on Sunday evening was the culmination of a best-of-three weekend series between Crescenta Valley and Burbank in the Junior Baseball District 16 All-Star Tournament.

Crescenta Valley took the opener with the same margin, 7-1, before Burbank won on Saturday and forced a deciding game.

Sunday at Dunsmore Park saw some well-played baseball but it also had controversy, with Burbank’s side livid during and after the game over the home plate umpire’s strike zone.

Still, Crescenta Valley pitcher Devon Medina did what she was asked, going the distance with only one run and four hits allowed.

“It started with needing to bear down,” said Medina, who was out for five weeks with an ankle injury. “I knew I had to throw strikes and let my defense back me. It was a team effort.

“I wanted to come out and support the team because I’ve been on the bench this whole time,” she added. “This team gets me excited so I wanted to come out and play for them.”

Crescenta Valley Coach David Kim sang his pitcher’s praises.

“Superstar,” he said. “A girl, at this age, to go against really good players is something.”

When asked about the questionable calls from the home plate umpire, Kim downplayed it, saying it went both ways and recalling controversial calls against Crescenta Valley on Saturday.

Burbank coach Chris Vanole, though, didn’t mince words.

“It’s a joke,” Vanole said. “He’s putting us in counts where our hitters have to swing at crap.

“It’s the worst umpiring I’ve seen in eight to 10 years. Even the field umpires were saying it’s horrible. In this type of game, it’s ridiculous.”

Burbank’s offense didn’t adapt to the strike calls and couldn’t muster up anything after taking an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Tanner Vanole and Joe Estrada led off the game with consecutive singles. Vanole advanced to third on an error setting up a successful double steal.

Crescenta Valley quickly answered in the bottom half on a two-run single from Kai Purdy-Burton for a 2-1 advantage that would not be relinquished.

Median and Burbank starter Rory Freck settled down over the next four innings, although Crescenta Valley added a run in the bottom of the fifth on Quinn Deitch’s run-scoring double, increasing the cushion to 3-1.

It would be enough for Medina and Crescenta Valley’s defense as Burbank managed just two hits after the first inning.

Frustration over the strike zone flared on Jake Forss’ strikeout in the top of the sixth. Forss received a warning for arguing, prompting a Burbank fan to voice anger with the home plate umpire.

Crescenta Valley blew the game open with a four-run sixth on hits from Aaron Kim, Purdy-Burton and Deitch. Purdy-Burton finished the game with three hits and three RBI. Deitch also finished with three hits.

Crescenta Valley leadoff batter Isaac Sung scored his second run of the game in the sixth on a strange play in which Freck went to third on a ball hit to him and caught the runner in a rundown. The batter, Alex Concepcion, took off for second and drew a throw, giving Sung and his speed confidence to jet for home.

Crescenta Valley will begin the Section 2 Tournament at Granada Hills Little League on Friday at 5 p.m. against the District 51 representative.

“A couple of kids are going on vacation so it’ll be difficult, but we’ll be ready to play,” Kim said.