GLENDALE — It took a couple innings for the Crescenta Valley 10-11 Baseball All-Star team's vaunted offense to get going, but by the end of Saturday night's Section 2 Tournament opener at El Dorado Little League Fields in Lancaster, the District 16 champions' bats were in full swing.
After Lucas Martos-Repath singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning, Michael Choi and Scott Vinceri each connected on home runs to emphatically lift Crescenta Valley to a 9-5 win over Northridge and into a winner's bracket game against either the District 17 champion Santa Anita or District 51 titlist Quartz Hill today at 8 p.m.
"It was a crazy ball game," Crescenta Valley Coach Dave Mulcahey said. "The momentum, the spirits are high. It's something that I don't see us losing if we can keep the spirits up."
Martos-Repath notched an infield single to score Ty Langford and bring Choi to the plate in the eighth and Choi came up big with his second home run of the game, a two-run shot to right field. The next batter Vinceri provided some insurance by also depositing one over the right-field fence.
Choi then combined with Brian Erickson to set Northridge down in the bottom of the eighth.
It was Northridge striking first with a three-run home run off Vinceri in the bottom of the first inning, but Crescenta Valley, which allowed only one run during the entire District 16 tournament, settled in defensively and on the mound to keep the game close from there on.
Crescenta Valley, which scored a total of 31 runs in its run to the District title, didn't score until the third inning Saturday, when Jaimy Blank doubled and scored on a single by Langford. But that proved to be the beginning of a turnaround for Crescenta Valley, whose bats perked up after a fourth-inning pitching change and finished with 13 hits on the day.
"It kind of threw us for a loop to see a pitcher we couldn't handle to start off the game," Mulcahey said.
Crescenta Valley took its first lead, 4-3, on a home run by Blank in the sixth, fell back into a tie and then went ahead, 5-4, on Choi's homer in the top of the seventh. Northridge battled back with another run in the bottom of the seventh to keep the game going.
Erickson finished with two hits and Langford also had two hits, including a double.