Crescenta Valley Minor baseball walks the walk against Burbank
TUJUNGA — Being selective at the plate has benefited the Crescenta Valley Children’s Hospital Minor baseball team in the early going of the District 16 Little League Tournament of Champions.
In an opening-round game Monday, CV drew seven walks in a victory against the Vaquero Cougars.
In the second round Tuesday against the Burbank Dodgers, Crescenta Valley more than doubled that total.
Crescenta Valley took advantage of Burbank’s pitching woes, earning 18 walks against four pitchers to notch a 13-0 victory in a game that was called in the fourth inning at Tujunga Little League Fields.
“Our guys are trying to learn the strike zone and take good at-bats,” Crescenta Valley manager Chad Pluimer said. “We don’t want to be swinging at balls out of the strike zone. But we also want to go up there looking to hit and being aggressive.
“Burbank is a great team and they have some good pitchers, but they just couldn’t quite find the strike zone today. I thought that our team played well today and our pitcher did a great job.”
Although the group of Burbank pitchers surrendered just three hits, the volume of walks was just too much for the squad to overcome.
“We have never done that, give up that many walks,” Burbank manager Chris Montgomery said. “We have only had two or three losses the entire season and we have never experienced what we experienced with our pitching today.
“What it comes down to is with the little guys, the strike zone is so small if the pitchers can’t make it in that strike zone then the walks come in bunches. We just gave them way too many free bases today.”
Crescenta Valley received a solid effort from starting pitcher Andrew Guske, who went three innings, didn’t allow a hit while striking out five and walking two.
Guske got into trouble in the bottom of the first inning when he gave up walks to Kayson Montgomery and Nicolas Hernandez. But he got two strikeouts and induced a 4-3 ground-out to get out of the inning unscathed.
The pitcher retired Burbank in order in the second and third innings with three strikeouts.
“I was a little nervous at first,” Guske said. “But then in the second inning I got two strikeouts and that made me feel better and I calmed down.”
Crescenta Valley got things rolling with three runs in the top of the first inning. Evan Campbell, Hudson Pluimer (three walks, three runs, one run batted in) and Leo Vacca (three walks, one run) walked, Guske drove in a run with a single through the left side and Crescenta Valley took advantage of two Burbank errors to take a 3-0 lead.
In the second inning, Crescenta Valley made it 8-0, getting one hit by Michael Watanabe (two for three with a run and two RBI) and seven walks to push across five runs. Pluimer, Milo Winckler (two walks, three runs) and Wolfgang Gegenhuber (two walks) drew walks that scored runs in the frame.
Six more walks in the third inning helped Crescenta Valley push across four runs, with Watanabe delivering a run-scoring single to right-center.
Crescenta Valley will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals and Burbank moves to the second-chance bracket and will play at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, with both games at Tujunga.