NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Marcel Martinez can spot a quality pitching performance.
Martinez, the coach of the La Crescenta 15-year-old All-Star baseball team, got right to the point Tuesday night after watching Torrance pitcher Shane Smith repeatedly tie up his players' bats in knots and end their season.
"Shane threw a great game," said Martinez, whose team suffered a 4-0 loss to Torrance in the if-necessary championship contest at Stengel Field. "He just kept us off-balance.
"We were able to compete, but Torrance is just an incredible team. It's a tough loss for us."
La Crescenta posted a 3-0 win in the championship game earlier Tuesday behind the standout pitching of Ryan Garcia, who held Torrance to five hits.
Smith turned in a near carbon-copy performance in the if-necessary game. Smith limited La Crescenta to three hits in going the distance and helped Torrance advance to the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament, which begins Aug. 4 in Ukiah.
La Crescenta starting pitcher Rich Alfonso yielded four fourth-inning runs. The right-hander made 30 pitches in the inning, surrendering three hits.
Andrew Mungarro made it 1-0 on a run-scoring bunt single before Jack Canady followed with a two-run single to extend the lead to 3-0. Matt Jarvis completed the scoring with a run-scoring single.
"We just had that one bad inning," said Martinez, whose team advanced to play Tuesday with an 11-1 victory against Simi Valley on Monday. "They just have a real solid lineup and they had a couple of breaks go their way."
In the top of the fifth while batting, Alfonso was ejected from the game for arguing after striking out. Alfonso was the second player kicked out of the game for arguing, as Torrance's Jason DiAngelo was ejected after being called out at home plate on a close play.
La Crescenta center fielder Manny Serfaty said La Crescenta might have been a bit fatigued after playing three games in a 24-hour span.
"I think we were a little tired," said Serfaty, who reached base three times. "We tried to play our best game and everybody did what they could.
"They are just a great team."
La Crescenta got hits from Serfaty, Will Davis and Blake Ruff.
In the championship game, La Crescenta scored one run in the first and two in the fifth to pick up the win. Davis scored on a wild pitch in the first and he had an RBI single in the fifth.
"That was the best game Ryan ever pitched," Martinez said.