SAN MARINO — With both the Crescenta Valley and Quartz Hill 9-10 All-Star Softball teams having used up their aces the previous day, Tuesday's Section 2 if-necessary championship game promised to be a true test of pitching depth.
While the game was back and forth in the early stages, it was Crescenta Valley that eventually wore down Quartz Hill's arms with big scoring outbursts in the third and fifth innings to secure an 18-8 win in a game shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule.
"We knew that it was going to come down to pitching, both teams had burned up our No. 1s," Crescenta Valley Coach Dan Abboud said. "It really came down to, I think, who had the best pitching.
"We were able to open it up in the third, put some runs on the board and hold them."
Crescenta Valley, which defeated Quartz Hill, 12-7, on Monday to force Tuesday's rematch, will open play in the Southern California State Championships Tournament against the Section 5 champion at 6 p.m. Thursday in Victorville.
"It feels good, I'm excited to move on," said Crescenta Valley's Allie Lombardo, who went three for five with three runs batted in and four runs scored. "I think we will do well."
Crescenta Valley pitcher Jennie Chacon (two earned runs in 3 2/3 total innings) started and finished the game, which included appearances in the circle by Crescenta Valley's Alexis Abboud and Mallory Hill in the interim.
Crescenta Valley took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on RBIs from Tyler Herman (single) and Peyton Hause (bases-loaded walk), but Quartz Hill cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first on a run-scoring error and put up four runs in the second, keyed by Christin Sheppard's two-run single, to take a 5-2 lead.
But Quartz Hill's pitching and defense faltered in the top of the third, where Crescenta Valley took advantage of three walks, a hit by pitch and four fielding errors to strike back with nine runs.
The rally was capped with a two-run double by Lombardo, followed by an RBI single from Jordan Hinkle.
Abboud took over in the circle in the bottom of the third and would walk the bases loaded over the course of the frame, but struck out the side to keep Quartz Hill from doing any damage.
Crescenta Valley had its sloppiest frame in the bottom of the fourth with three errors to go along with three walks and a hit batter, all of it allowing Quartz Hill to score three runs without the benefit of a single hit.
But Crescenta Valley more than made up for it with a five-run fifth that included singles from Lombardo and Hinkle and a two-run double from Herman.
"We were really on the bats," Lombardo said. "They put the best pitcher they had today in last and the pitchers before her were slower. Coming into this game, we were all pretty confident that we could hit them really well."