NORTHEAST GLENDALE — With his team clinging to a one-run lead and three outs away from victory, Crescenta Valley All-Star Major Softball Coach Dave Fox figured it would be tough to protect the advantage.
He figured right.
Crescenta Valley saw its bid to repeat as champions take a hit after it surrendered four runs in the top of the sixth inning en route to an 8-5 loss against Tujunga on Friday night at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields.
"It was a well played game by both teams," Fox said. "I said to our team when we were down, 4-3, going into the fifth inning that we would get two runs and then shut Tujunga down.
"We got the two runs, but we couldn't make the last part hold up. I expected the other teams to be much tougher and you can see them getting better."
Tujunga, which opened the tournament Thursday with an 18-8 victory against Foothill, advanced to the championship game. Tujunga will face the winner of today's Crescenta Valley-Foothill game at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Scholl. An if-necessary championship game would be played at Scholl on Monday at a time to be determined.
Tujunga tied the game at 5 on a run-scoring single by Tiffany Corrales. It took a 6-5 lead on a run-scoring single by Eryn Llewellyn before making it 8-5 on a throwing error by the catcher on a double steal.
Tujunga Coach Andy DiMuno said his team responded at the right time.
"I've never beaten any of Dave's teams before and he's a great coach," DiMuno said. "We went out there [in the sixth inning] and our players did what they were told."
Crescenta Valley took a 5-4 lead in the fifth. Sinclair Ralston tied the game when she reached base safely on a fielder's choice. Ralston then scored on a single to left by Julia Moran, who finished with three hits.
Tujunga scored a pair of runs in its half of the fifth to grab a 4-3 advantage. The first run came on a wild pitch to make it 3-3, followed by an error by the Crescenta Valley shortstop to make it 4-3.
Crescenta Valley pulled ahead, 3-2, in the fourth. After Moran led off with a double, Therese Oshiro tripled to bring in Moran to tie it at 2. An errant relay throw landed in the Crescenta Valley dugout, allowing Oshiro to score to make it 3-2.
Tujunga took a 2-1 lead in the third on a run-scoring single by Alyssa Arroyo. It tied the game at 1 in the second on an error by the shortstop.
Crescenta Valley made it 1-0 in the first when Arleth Lima scored on a passed ball.
Fox, whose team will meet Foothill at 3 p.m. today, said Crescenta Valley will need to regroup.
"If our pitching can hold up [today, then I think we will be OK," Fox said.