CV aims to capture division

GLENDALE — Temperatures figure to be a bit cooler the next time the Crescenta Valley Junior All-Star Softball team takes the field.

After traveling to Canyon Country and battling near triple-digit temperatures, Crescenta Valley swept its three Section 2 Tournament games.

Crescenta Valley will next travel near scenic San Diego, where the temperatures figure to be cooler, to participate in the Division III Tournament.

Crescenta Valley, which earlier won the District 16 title, will battle the Section 9 representative out of southwest San Bernardino in an opening-round contest at 10 a.m. today at Rolando King Street Field in La Mesa.

No matter the temperature or weather conditions, Crescenta Valley will look to pick right where it left off in the Section 2 Tournament.

"We want and have to keep focused on the positives from the [Section 2] games," said Crescenta Valley Manager Will Thayer, whose team outscored its opponents, 43-10, in three tournament games in the Santa Clarita Valley. "We learned a lot from those games.

"We had some big innings in the section tournament and everything just came together for us in getting clutch hits. Hopefully, we can keep our bats hot. It will be fun, regardless what happens."

The winner of Crescenta Valley's opening game will then meet the Section 8 champion in a winner's-bracket game at 4 p.m. today at the same venue. The loser of the opening game will compete in an elimination contest at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The championship game in the six-team double-elimination tournament will start at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and an if-necessary title contest would begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

A stacked lineup and quality starting pitching might give Crescenta Valley an opportunity to reach the championship. For example, starting pitcher Olivia Thayer tossed a five-hitter in going the distance to power Crescenta Valley to a 7-0 win against Canyon Country in the title game of the Section 2 Tournament.

"I think we do have a well-balanced lineup from top to bottom and we are deep four pitchers," the elder Thayer said. "There isn't going to be any freebies against us because we can win with any kind of combination.

"It will be a great experience for all of our players to get a taste of what it's like to compete against teams outside our community. Some of them might go on to play softball in high school and college."

Crescenta Valley will feature top-hitters such as Tiffany Briscoe, Torrey Johnson and Whitney Craig, who might also see time inside the circle.

"With our lineup, we feel like we can put the ball in play," Thayer said. "We also have some great team speed."

Crescenta Valley throughout the postseason has worked with former Crescenta Valley High softball standouts Baillie Kirker, Kali Cancelosi and Meredith Cervenka.

Olivia Thayer is hopeful those pointers pay off.

"It's been good to work out with them and we have gotten a lot of encouragement from the coaches and teammates," she said. "We have had a lot of good practices and we know that we will be playing against a lot of good teams."

Craig, who will also probably see time at shortstop, said Crescenta Valley can't worry about its opponent.

"We have a chance to win and beat some good teams," Craig said. "We have to focus and concentrate on what we are doing and not be distracted by the other team."

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