Crescenta Valley has sights set on Section 2 opener

GLENDALE — For Crescenta Valley 9-10 Softball All-Star Coach Dan Abboud, the proof his team is ready to compete in the Section 2 Tournament wasn't in the squad's lopsided wins to open the District 16 All-Star Tournament, but rather in the come-from-behind 6-4 win it notched over Burbank on Tuesday in the title game to advance to the Sectionals.

"I was a little concerned at the beginning [of the District All-Star tournament] where we were coming and steamrolling all these teams and, really, I believe what makes a good team is a team that can come from behind and that's what we did," said Abboud, whose team trailed Burbank, 3-0, early but rallied to win behind runs batted in by Alli Lombardo, Roxy Raad and Alexis Abboud and 4 2/3 strong innings in the circle from Lombardo. "I think that kind of opened up showing the girls that we are a team that can battle back and compete.

"That's pretty big for these girls at this level to understand."

It's a situation that Crescenta Valley (3-0) very well may find itself in again soon, as the level of competition in this tournament is sure to be higher than anything the team has seen this season when it begins Sectional play today at 5 p.m. against District 40 champion Granada Hills at San Marino National Little League Fields.

The four-team tournament also includes District 51 champion Quartz Hill and host San Marino, the District 17 champion.

"I'm expecting, obviously, the level of play to go up quite a bit, comparable to who we are and how we play," Abboud said. "I would imagine that it's going to be a battle."

Crescenta Valley would go on to face either Quartz Hill or San Marino either in the loser's bracket at noon on Saturday or in the winner's bracket at 3 p.m. Saturday, pending first-round results.

"I think everyone is really excited," Crescenta Valley pitcher Alexis Abboud said. "We've all played together for a few years now.

"I think we've been practicing a lot lately and we've done really well."

Coach Abboud said he is leaning toward starting Jennie Chacon in the circle today, but that Lombardo will once again be ready to come on in relief.

"All our girls have been seeing their pitching coaches," Abboud said. "I'm pretty confident on our pitching, that we are going to be a force to be reckoned with."

The double-elimination tournament continues with loser's bracket action on Sunday and a champion could be decided as early as Monday evening, with an if-necessary title game scheduled for Tuesday evening.

"It would mean a lot," Abboud said of capturing the Section 2 crown. "I've been playing for a long time and this is like the biggest tournament I've ever been in."

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