Locals swing way to success

Once again, hundreds of area Little Leaguers took to various baseball and softball fields around Glendale, La Crescenta and Montrose. Some of them were able to compete outside the area and state in their quest for championship glory.

The San Gabriel Valley Babe Ruth 16-18 All-Star team reached the World Series in Washington for the first time in two years and the Foothill Major, Crescenta Valley 9-10 and Crescenta Valley Junior all-star softball teams advanced to the Southern California State Tournament, falling just short of reaching the regional tournament.

There were memorable walk-off home runs and outstanding pitching performances from a number of players en route to teams winning District 16 and Section 2 tournaments.

The following is a recap of the area's Little League season.


After missing out on the World Series last season, the San Gabriel Valley Babe Ruth 16-18, featuring eight local players and led by Crescenta Valley High baseball Coach Phil Torres, returned by sweeping through the Pacific Southwest Regional in Modesto. It then participated in the World Series in Ephrata, Wash., but didn't reach the bracket portion of the tournament.

San Gabriel Valley won one of four American Division pool-play games. Elliott Surrey of Crescenta Valley starred on the mound in the final pool-play game by striking out four and scattering five hits in a 3-0 win against defending champion Mobile., Ala. San Gabriel Valley snapped Mobile's reported 53-game winning streak.

"It's a different team every year and we came a long way in the last two weeks," said Torres, whose team advanced to the World Series with a 5-4 victory against Watsonville in the regional final. "A lot of our guys are in it to get here again, if they want to be here next summer."

The La Crescenta 13-year-old team opened the Southern California State Tournament with a 6-0 loss against Westchester at Dunsmore Park. It saw its season end with a 7-3 loss to Westchester in the championship game.

Also in the Southern California State Tournament, La Crescenta's 14-year-old team opened with a 6-4 victory against Simi Valley at Thousand Oaks High, as pitcher Cole Radmacher went the distance, striking out five and scattering six hits. La Crescenta was knocked out of the winner's bracket with a 9-1 loss to El Segundo before bouncing back with a 9-5 victory against Simi Valley. La Crescenta's season concluded in the championship game with a 10-6 loss against El Segundo.


The Arroyo Seco Saints, consisting of a handful of locals players and coached by St. Francis High assistant Coach Aaron Milam, had an elongated run that saw it get to the championship game of the West Zone Tournament in Compton. Los Gatos handed Arroyo Seco a 5-2 loss in the championship game and the Saints fell one game short of reaching the PONY World Series for the first time in program history.

The Saints started with a 7-0 win against the Colton Nighthawks before falling, 9-7, to the Southern California Bombers. Arroyo Seco bounced back with a 9-1 victory against the Santa Clara Red Sox and a 6-4 win against the Bombers to reach the title game.

Earlier, the Saints were one of four teams from the Palomino SoCal Regional Baseball Tournament to reach the West Zone Tournament. After opening with a 4-3 win against Covina, Arroyo Seco then earned an 8-3 win against the Jayhawks before suffering 12-2 and 6-5 losses to the Playa Vista Orioles. However, the Saints were one of four teams to qualify for the West Zone Tournament.

"The goal of this program is to improve and go further every year, so we know we're successful," Milam said. "We lost in the semifinals of the [West] Zone last year, so this year we get to the final and every year we try to get a little bit better."


Crescenta Valley Triscenic overcame an early 4-0 deficit to record an 11-7 victory over Crescenta Valley Foothill Athletic Club in the championship game of the Minor Baseball tournament.

In the Major Baseball championship game against the Burbank Angels, the Vaqueros turned to David Piedra for big-game heroics. Piedra came through, as he hit a grand slam home run to help the Cougars net a 12-3 victory.

"I just wanted to step it up for the team," said Piedra, who finished the contest with five runs batted in. "We needed some runs and I was able to provide it."

The Jewel City Bears captured the Junior Baseball title with a 7-2 win against Crescenta Valley Kelly & Small Accounting. Jewel City starting pitcher Eric Winner went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts to earn the win.

The Minor Softball championship game saw Crescenta Valley Kiwanis fall to the Burbank Heart Breakers, 4-3, in eight innings at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields.

In the Major Softball championship game between Foothill Giuseppe's and the Crescenta Valley Red Hots, pitcher Alex Howard went the distance and Regina Kim hit a grand slam to lift Foothill to a 12-2 win.

The most dramatic championship game came in the Junior Softball Tournament between Crescenta Valley Kiwanis and the Burbank Fusion. The see-saw affair lasted more than three hours and went nine innings with Kiwanis posting a 15-14 victory. Burbank scored six runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at 9 before Crescenta Valley regained the lead with one run in its half of the sixth. Burbank then took the lead for the first time with four runs in the seventh inning, but Crescenta Valley scratched out three more runs to force extra innings and later scored two in the ninth to win it after giving up one in the top half.

"We're used to coming back, but usually we're coming back from an early deficit," Kiwanis Coach Will Thayer said. "They have always showed a great ability to come back."



The Crescenta Valley 10-11 baseball team took the District 16 championship game with a 15-1 win against Burbank at Montrose Park. Crescenta Valley got their 15 runs on 11 hits, while giving up one hit.

"We have a potent offense, and we hit the ball better than anything else," Crescenta Valley Coach David Mulcahey said. "Recently, we have been able to match it with our good defense."

In the Major Baseball Tournament, Crescenta Valley's Jason Chang hit two home runs and drove in seven runs to spark Crescenta Valley to a 17-1 victory against Tujunga in the championship game. Chang finished with three hits, including a solo home run and a grand slam.

Crescenta Valley's Junior Baseball team recorded an 11-2 win against Burbank in the if-necessary title game at Tujunga Little League Fields. The victory came a day after Crescenta Valley's victory over Burbank in the championship game was protested and nullified because Crescenta Valley used an ineligible player. Burbank was awarded the victory, forcing another game. Crescenta Valley pitcher Kevin Hello gave up three hits and didn't allow a run in four innings.

In softball action, the Crescenta Valley 9-10 team registered a 6-4 victory against Burbank. Burbank raced to a 3-0 lead before Crescenta Valley battled back with two runs apiece in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Alli Lombardo picked up the victory, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.

Foothill proved to have a top-flight lineup against Crescenta Valley in the Major Softball Tournament. Foothill opened with a 16-4 win before earning a 10-3 victory in the championship contest. Foothill finished the tournament with 25 hits in a pair of tournament games. In the finale, Jordan Lousararian and Alex Howard each had three hits and Howard collected three runs batted in.

The Crescenta Valley Junior Softball team took control against Burbank, winning 15-5 in the first game and 15-1 in the championship contest. Crescenta Valley finished with 18 hits and pitchers Olivia Thayer and Adela Alatraca combined to limit Burbank to four hits.

"We have a high-powered offense and our hitters are tough, one through nine," Crescenta Valley Coach Will Thayer said. "The team has got power and can also hit for average."


Foothill's Major All-Star softball team captured the tournament with a 3-1 victory against Mission Hills in the if-necessary championship contest. Alex Howard delivered a two-run single to ignite Foothill, which won its first Section 2 crown.

"This is very exciting because we've spent four years trying to get here and we finally won," said Miranda Diaz, whose team forced an if-necessary game with a 6-2 win against Mission Hills.

The Crescenta Valley Junior Softball All-Stars pitchers Olivia Thayer, Adela Alatraca and Kellyn O'Leary combined for a three-hit shutout to blank San Marino, 6-0, in the championship game.

"It was another great pitching night," said Crescenta Valley Coach Will Thayer, whose team allowed just three runs and seven hits over three tournament victories.

Crescenta Valley's 9-10 All-Star Softball team had several big innings and a solid pitching effort from Jennie Chacon to net an 18-8 win against Quartz Hill in the if-necessary championship game. Crescenta Valley picked up a 12-7 win in the championship contest.

"It feels good, I'm excited to move on," said Crescenta Valley's Alli Lombardo, who went three for five with three runs batted in and four runs scored. "I think we will do well."

Jennie Chacon (two earned runs in 3 2/3 total innings) started and finished the game.

Crescenta Valley's 10-11 softball team fell to Quartz Hill, 13-0, in the first game before suffering a 15-1 loss in the championship game.

Crescenta Valley's Major Baseball team fell to Encino, 19-4, in the championship contest. Crescenta Valley had earlier staved off elimination with a 14-13 victory against Quartz Hill.

Crescenta Valley's 10-11 baseball team suffered an 11-10 loss to Quartz Hill in the championship game.

After posting an 8-5 win in an elimination game, Crescenta Valley's Junior Baseball team was handed a 5-2 loss by Encino in the championship contest.


Foothill's Major All-Star Softball team appeared on its way to advancing to the state championships after it got a game-winning hit from Danielle Ryan to turn back Westchester Del Rey in a winner's-bracket game. However, those plans were scrapped when the teams met in the championship and if-necessary titles games several days later. Westchester notched a 5-2 win in the championship game before dashing Foothill's title hopes with a 12-0 loss in the if-necessary title contest.

"We just ran into a buzz saw," said Foothill co-Manager Tyson Howard, who worked with Todd Fabian to guide Foothill. "We knew they were a great team after we beat them, 7-6, the other night in nine innings.

"We knew they were going to be trouble again. They came out hitting the ball hard in the second game and it wasn't how we wanted to play. It's a tough way to end it for us, but we got this far. It's great to have gotten here."

The Crescenta Valley Junior All-Star softball team fell to Westchester Del Rey, 3-1, in a semifinal contest. Olivia Thayer and Adela Alatraca combined to pitch a one-hitter for the locals. Westchester Del Rey handed the locals both of their losses, previously defeating CV, 4-2.

Crescenta Valley's 9-10 All-Star Softball team was eliminated with a 9-7 loss to South El Monte in seven innings.

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