GLENDALE — It's been rare for the Crescenta Valley 10-11 All-Star baseball team to surrender runs of late. In fact, it's happened only once in its last three contests.
"One of the things that's set us apart from the opposition is our ability to throw strikes and play strong defense," said Crescenta Valley Coach Dave Mulcahey, whose team recently won the District 16 championship and will begin play in the Section 2 Tournament with an opening-round contest against District 40 representative Northridge at 5 p.m. today at El Dorado Little League Fields in Lancaster. "We gave up one run in the entire [District 16] tournament and that's a big deal for us.
"We pride ourselves on defense. We've gotten strikes. When the ball is hit in play, we play great defense."
Crescenta Valley moved on to the Section 2 Tournament with a 15-1 victory against Burbank at Montrose Park Wednesday. The pitching has been led by the trio of Scott Vinceri, Ty Langford and Brian Erickson
Crescenta Valley's offense also came alive in the District 16 Tournament, scoring 31 runs. Among those being counted on by Mulcahey on offense are Kurt McNevin, Jett Costibolo, Michael Choi and Tyler Cendejas.
"We've stood out also with our hitting," Mulcahey said. "I like our lineup and that's going to have to be big again."
Mulcahey said Northridge will be a stern test for Crescenta Valley.
"I've seen them a couple of times and they are a good opponent," Mulcahey said. "They knocked us out [in the 9-10 Division in the Section 2 Tournament] last year.
"They aren't flashy, but they do things right. They are close to a mirror image of us."
Vinceri said Crescenta Valley will need to continue pitching well to get through the tournament.
"Our pitching has been very useful," Vinceri said. "You need to have real good pitching, especially when you have to play back-to-back days.
"Our team is good when we play under pressure. We don't crack under pressure."
Santa Anita, the District 17 champion, will face District 51 representative Quartz Hill at 5 p.m. in the other tournament opener.
The championship game will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday. An if-necessary title game would be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The winner will advance to the Division III North Tournament, which will be held in Long Beach.