Crescenta Valley comes up short against Encino

ENCINO — Crescenta Valley Major All-Star baseball Coach Drew Arredondo knew his team would be in for a battle when it met Encino in the Section 2 Tournament championship game Tuesday night.

Nearly two hours after the first pitch was tossed, Arredondo saw firsthand how dangerous Encino could be with its bats.

"They are a polished team and they definitely are a solid team top to bottom," Arredondo said after Crescenta Valley saw its season come to an end with a 19-4 loss to Encino at Encino Little League Fields. "Their guys can hit almost every pitch.

"It wasn't meant to be for us. My hat's off to Encino and I hope they do some damage in the next tournament."

Encino, the District 40 representative, beat District 16 representative Crescenta Valley twice to move on to the Division III North Tournament, which will begin Saturday at West Covina American Little League Fields. Encino won the first meeting on Sunday, 14-3.

Crescenta Valley proved to be a worthy finalist. It held on for a 14-13 victory against Quartz Hill in an elimination game Monday night, but ran into a red-hot Encino team that scored three runs in the top of the first inning and finished the contest with four home runs.

Seth Stone hit a ground-rule double that scored two runs to make it 2-0 before a ground out by Elijah West made it 3-0.

Justin Greenwald of Encino hit a solo home run to raise the lead to 4-0 before Crescenta Valley's Frank Alsamman hit a two-run home run to right-center field that hit the scoreboard to cut the deficit to 4-2.

"We hung in there with them [early in the game] and tried to battle," said Alsamman, who collected singles in the fourth and sixth to finish with a team-high three hits. "The other team just had it today and you have to hand it to them.

"It's just heartbreaking to get knocked out. We would have liked to have moved on, but sometimes you just get knocked out."

Encino scored four runs in the third to take an 8-2 lead, capped by a three-run home run by West. Crescenta Valley received a solo home from Adrian Damla in the third to close to within 8-3 and teammate Robert Giese led off the fourth with a solo home run to make it 8-4.

A home run by Stone to lead off the fifth, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Mike Cohen gave Encino an 11-4 advantage. Encino scored eight runs in the sixth to make it 19-4. Jack Scher hit a two-run home run that made it 13-4.

"We never felt like we were out of it early on," said Arredondo, whose team collected nine hits. "I thought we could definitely stay with them and have the chances to battle, but sometimes you get beat.

"It's a pleasure to be around this group. They went out there and had a good time, regardless of winning or losing."

Crescenta Valley received two hits from Damla and Chuck Weinmann. Nico Arredondo added one hit for Crescenta Valley.

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