GLENDALE — It was a banner year for local baseball and softball Little League teams in the various 2010 District 16 All-Star Tournaments, evidenced by the large number of teams that will take part in Section 2 Tournaments across Southern California beginning today.
Four area All-Star baseball teams and three softball teams will battle the best squads from adjoining districts for the right to move on to the Division Tournaments.
Most of the aforementioned teams will begin their tournaments on Saturday, but Crescenta Valley 9-10 softball and Foothill 10-11 softball get underway today in Tehachapi and El Dorado, respectively.
"I don't know what's gonna happen out there in the desert," said Foothill Manager Tyson Howard, whose team defeated the CV All-Stars, 10-0, on Wednesday to reach the Section 2 Tournament, where it will open at 6 p.m. against the District 40 champion. "We'd like to win the section, that's the goal."
Last year's Foothill 9-10 team, which features many of the same players as Howard's current team, made it to final round of the sectionals, where it lost to Quartz Hill.
"We have a feeling we're gonna see Quartz Hill there in the final," said Howard, who will look for big games from players such as Alex Howard, Tiffany Bartamian and Jordan Lousararian. "Of course, we gotta do our part and get there."
The Art Gamez-coached CV 9-10 All-Stars, featuring Ally Lombardo, Jordan Hinkel and Camie Ellington, will take on the District 40 champion at 5:30 p.m. after reaching the sectionals via a 12-1 win over Tujunga on Saturday.
The other local softball team in the sectionals, the Crescenta Valley Junior All-Stars, will get started at 9 a.m. Saturday in Canyon Country against the District 51 winner. That squad, which is coached by Will Thayer, advanced behind an 18-8 win on Saturday over Burbank, in which Whitney Craig, Marissa Cornelius, Tiffany Briscoe and Kendall Heurkins all drove in runs.
"Our junior team looks very good," District 16 Commissioner Dave Ritchie said. "That [10-11] Foothill team is gonna be a force to be reckoned with, I think. They could go a long ways."
Saturday's baseball action will begin at 9 a.m. with the Crescenta Valley 10-11 squad taking on the District 40 champion in Encino.
"This team has more talent than the [10-11] team we took to the state tournament four or five years ago," said CV Manager Dan Mulcahey, who counts leadoff hitter Frank Alsamman, Adrian Damala, Nico Arredondo and shortstop Chuck Weimann among his key players. "It bodes well. We look strong."
CV, which clinched the district with a 14-1 win over Burbank on Monday, also has a strong pitching core in the trio of Max Meyer, Jason Chang and Robert Giese.
"Our main thing is pitching," Mulcahey said. "If our pitching holds up and doesn't walk anyone and our defense can play like it has and can play we'll do fine because we'll hit anyone they can throw at us."
Crescenta Valley Junior Manager Phil Torres, whose team faces the District 51 champion at 10 a.m. at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields, also cited pitching as they key to advancing.
"I think everything always comes down to pitching," said Torres, who will rely on pitchers Josh Cook and Ted Boeke, as well as hitters Brian Wang, Michael Russo and Ty Gangi.
CV's offense is clicking as of late, as well, after pounding out a 15-1 win over Burbank on Monday.
Crescenta Valley Major will face the District 17 champion at 1 p.m. in Sierra Madre, and Manager Frank Gangi stuck to a familiar theme.
"I think it all starts on the hill," he said. "It's going to be interesting to see the depth of our pitching because we will not be able to just rely on Will Lombardo and Andreas Kim. We will need to have a bunch of kids step up and really throw some good innings for us.".
Offensively, CV, which beat Burbank, 10-0, on Wednesday, is led by Greg Stupakis and Colin Martin.
"We have some very strong hitters," Gangi said. "Of course, we'll see some much better pitchers in the Sectionals, but we have some very tough outs."
Finally, Crescenta Valley 9-10 baseball, which punched its ticket to the Sectionals with a 2-0 win over Burbank on Wednesday, takes on the District 51 winner at 6 p.m. in Quartz Hill.
The David Mulcahey-coached squad is led by Lucas Martos-Repath, Justin Parrott and Scott Vinceri.
"The key is good defense, that's the number one key to winning at any level in any sport," Mulcahey said. "One big thing is we're going to have to hit better than we did in the Section Tournament.
"But I've seen the teams we will be playing against and I know my team and I think we can compete with anybody out there."