TUJUNGA — Behind a stellar pitching performance and timely hitting, the Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Stars had no trouble advancing into the winner’s bracket of the District 16 Tournament.
After the game, both coaches praised Crescenta Valley starting pitcher JD Schaffer, who struck out nine batters in three innings, giving up two hits with no earned runs.
Schaffer, along with an offense which scored in every inning, defeated Jewel City-Jewish War Veterans, 14-2, Thursday afternoon at Pacific Park, setting up a date with Foothill today at 5 p.m.
“For two weeks, this is what we’ve been practicing, to throw strikes,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Dan Mulcahey, whose two relief pitchers — Braden Bentzen and Will Grimm — combined to throw two no-hit innings of work. “Throw strikes and let the defense do the work.”
“He was outstanding,” Jewel City Coach Philip Palmer said.
Schaffer helped his own cause during a four-run top half of the first inning in which he scored on a Grimm single that plated a second runner on an error and also saw Grimm reach second base. Two of the four runs in the inning were unearned.
Schaffer then went to work, striking out the side in the first inning, but not before giving up a run on an Ernest Williams single that brought leadoff hitter Flynt Clayton home. Clayton reached second on a throwing error.
Then in the second, Gabe Kessell connected on a two-run home run to extend the Crescenta Valley lead to 6-1.
After scoring two in the third inning on just two hits, Crescenta Valley’s bats took initiative again on the team’s second two-run home run of the ballgame — this one from Colin Jacobs after Schaffer led off the inning with a single. The two-run shot gave Crescenta Valley a healthy 10-2 cushion.
Kessell and Jacobs combined to score six runs with Kessell going three for four at the plate, just a double shy of hitting for the cycle. His triple in the fifth inning started another big inning for Crescenta Valley, eventually scoring the first of four runs.
“We wanted to make them throw strikes and hit the ball, and we put a lot of balls in play,” Mulcahey said. “Colin and Gabe were phenomenal.”
Jewel City got its second run thanks to a Williams triple in which he came home on an error made in the outfield. Overall though, the team managed just two hits for the game.
Crescenta Valley accumulated nine hits off four Jewel City pitchers. After the game, Palmer said he had to keep his pitchers fresh for the next game of the double-elimination tournament.
“We didn’t help ourselves with the errors that gave them extra outs,” said Palmer of the passed balls, throwing errors and fielding errors that led Crescenta Valley to four unearned runs. “It’s hard enough to squeak out runs when a guy is pitching that well.
“We gave it a good shot, though. They’re young and fun, and wouldn’t know they just lost a game.”
Jewel City will play Saturday morning versus the loser of the Vaquero and Tujunga game, which took place immediately after theirs.