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Crescenta Valley softball bests San Juan Hills, heads to CIF semifinals

After trailing for the first time in the postseason, the Crescenta Valley High softball team regrouped quickly.

The Falcons responded with some clutch two-out hitting to keep their playoff run alive.

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Top-seeded Crescenta Valley scored three runs with two outs to register a 3-1 CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinal road victory against San Juan Hills on Thursday.

Crescenta Valley (25-5-1) will meet Diamond Ranch (12-14-3) in a semifinal road contest at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. The Falcons, who have won three straight Pacific League championships, will make their first semifinal appearance since 2008 and are seeking the program’s first CIF championship since 1986. Diamond Ranch notched a 16-4 quarterfinal road win at Mira Costa on Thursday.

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“[San Juan Hills] gave us a real good test,” Crescenta Valley coach Amanda Peek said. “They got a two-out hit to take a 1-0 lead.

“We tightened things up after that and we got the clutch hits when we needed them. It’s absolutely big to get those two-out hits and runs because it rattles the other team.

“It’s exciting for the program to get to the semifinals and we’ve waited for this.”

San Juan Hills (17-8) scored a run in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. It was the first run Crescenta Valley allowed in the postseason after recording wins against Brea Olinda and Glendora.

Crescenta Valley tied it in the fourth on a run-scoring double by Stephanie Wichman, who finished with three hits, and took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a RBI-single from Maddie De Leon.

De Leon added a run-scoring double in the seventh

Crescenta Valley starting pitcher Dee Dee Hernandez, the reigning All-Area Softball Player of the Year, picked up the win. The sophomore left-hander struck out seven and yielded four hits in a complete-game effort.

San Juan Hills finished third in the South Coast League.

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