NORTHRIDGE -- About the only thing more impressive than the offensive production enjoyed by Crescenta Valley 9-10 baseball all-star Zach Feehan was the near-mammoth rally made by his team's opponent – Sherman Oaks – in Saturday morning's opening round of the Section 2 tournament.
While Feehan's four-for-four day was a triple short of a cycle, his team didn't miss a chance to continue its winning ways after taking an eight-run lead and eventually holding on for an 8-6 victory.
With the triumph, Crescenta Valley punched its ticket to the second round on Sunday at 9 a.m. versus either Pasadena American or Quartz Hill.
“Sherman Oaks has a good ballclub and I know they did well in their tournament, so [their comeback] wasn't surprising,” Crescenta Valley Coach Brett Ramaker said. “We dominated our district play, so this was different for us, but we saw the game through.”
Despite trailing, 8-0, heading into the bottom of the fourth, Sherman Oaks pulled within 8-5 heading into the sixth and placed runners on first and second against reliever Braeden Bentzen, who was pulled in favor of Sean Boyd.
Boyd restored order by securing a 6-4 fielder's choice and a pop up to short for two quick outs.
Yet, Sherman Oaks' Reed Wilson brought his club within two when he connected on a RBI single to left, which brought the winning run to the plate in Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Whatever drama had built quickly dissipated when Boyd induced a first-pitch, check-swing pop up from Crow-Armstrong that was caught at third for the final out.
“I was pleased with our pitching,” Ramaker said. “We just don't focus on hitting, but on our defense and pitching.”
A win seemed like a mere formality after 3 1/2 innings when Crescenta Valley led, 8-0, highlighted by the bashing of Feehan.
The lead-off hitter homered, doubled, scored three times and drove in three runs.
When Feehan scored, so did his mates, including when he connected on a two-run single that plated Chuck Meyer and Nathan Nuttall in Crescenta Valley's four-run second, in which the visiting team took a 5-0 lead.
Three batters after Feehan's single, he and Sam Kunz, who walked, scored on another two-run single by Bentzen (three RBI and two runs).
Crescenta Valley followed up its four-run outburst with three runs in the fourth thanks to doubles from Feehan and Vincent Parrott, a RBI single from Bentzen and scoring groundouts from Niko Khoury and Ethan Miller.
Crescenta Valley's first run came in the first inning, when Feehan rocketed a high 1-1 fastball that banked off the Arco sign in left field.
“This game was fun, but it was also nerve-racking,” Feehan said. “At the plate, I was looking for outside pitches and off-speed and I got a few pitches there.”
A somewhat docile Sherman Oaks, which produced three hits through its first three innings, came to life in the fourth with five runs on five hits.
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