LOS ANGELES — Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior All-Star softball Coach Will Thayer thinks there may have been some nerves at play with his team, which opened the Southern California Division III Junior Softball Tournament Saturday.
Those nerves were quickly calmed by a number ofTri-Valley miscues – four errors, three passed balls and three wild pitches – that helped fuel a CVFH offense that had 13 hits, including multi-hit games from Alex Howard, Cailen Rodriguez and Camie Ellingford, in a 10-0 mercy-rule victory over five innings at Kent D. Mace Field in Westchester.
"The scoreboard says 10-0 and I don't want to seem egotistical, but I thought we could have played a lot better," Thayer said. "We left them off the hook a bunch of times with bases loaded. We were having trouble in the leadoff spot tonight, we had three strikeouts there and everyone has their bad games, but I thought we could have played better. I still feel we are a better hitting club than we showed tonight, even though we put 10 on the board."
It was a fitting ending as CVFH's big hitters Saturday ended the game after the minimum five innings. Ellingford drove home the 10th run with a single to left field that scored Howard, who singled aboard and moved to second on a Rodriguez single.
"[The lopsided win] gives us a lot of confidence especially this far in the season," Ellingford said. "It's my first time being this far."
The win puts CVFH in a second-round game of the double-elimination tournament against South El Monte, the Section 3 champions, Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at Kent D. Mace Field.
Thayer hopes the commanding victory will calm whatever nerves CVFH was feeling early on before it jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning with some help fromTri-Valleyafter CVFH pitcher Jordan Lousararian retired the side in order in the top of the first.
"There's a bit of nerves and eagerness to please because they have worked hard [to get here]," Thayer said. "You press a little bit early and after you get a couple runs you start to calm down. I think they will be fine. Now that they have this under their belt they can settle down and be themselves more."
Howard started the bottom of the first inning rally with a one-out single and moved to second on a passed ball before Rodriguez (two runs batted in) brought her home with a double. Rodriguez and Lousararian, who reached on an error, both scored on a wild pitch after the catcher threw it over the head of the pitcher covering home to give CVFH a 3-0 lead in the first.
Paige Baker came around to score on another Tri-Valley error in the bottom of the second after she singled aboard and moved to third on a Miranda Diaz single for a 4-0 advantage.
Ellingford (two RBI and a stolen base) added another CVFH run in the bottom of the third after she bashed a leadoff double to the fence in dead center field, stole third and scored on a dropped third strike.
CVFH batted around the order in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to five hits — all singles — and an error in the frame that scored five runs for a commanding 9-0 lead. Rodriguez, Ellingford and Adela Alatraca each drove in runs in the inning with Howard coming home on a Tri-Valley error.
"Their errors really scored a few of our runs," Ellingford said. "If they would have made their plays they would have given us a little tougher game."
Lousararian and Alatraca combined for the five-inning shutout. Lousararian started the first four innings and gave up just two hits, two walks and struck out six in the process. Alatraca pitched a perfect fifth, as she struck out two and induced a popup to end the inning.