GLENDALE — A four-run first inning set the wheels in motion for the Crescenta Valley Muir Chase softball team in Saturday’s Junior Tri-Cities Tournament of Champions final at Scholl Canyon Ballfields.
Muir Chase scored at least one run in five of six innings and was never really threatened by the Foothill Bees en route to a 15-5 victory.
Muir’s success Saturday started at the top of its lineup, as the trio of Kaitlin Okimoto, Camie Ellingsford and Julia Duarte combined to go seven for 13 with three doubles, one triple, eight runs and five runs batted in.
Okimoto, the team’s leadoff batter, began the game in the first with a triple, which was followed by a double from Ellingsford and a single from Duarte that produced two runs.
Duarte then came home on a run-scoring single from Therese Oshiro, before Oshiro eventually scored on a single from Taylor Schaffer.
“Those four runs to start the game were huge,” Muir Chase Coach Will Thayer said. “The Bees had a really good pitcher, but we made some solid contact and got some big hits.”
While the Bees countered with a run in the bottom of the first on a double from Clair Smith and a run-scoring single from Alex Howard, Muir responded with another big inning.
This time Muir scored three runs in the top of the second to lead, 7-1, behind doubles from Ellingsford and Duarte, a run-scoring single from Brenda Ganez and a final RBI groundout from Elli Yao.
“You have to give some credit to CV-Muir Chase. We had a fastball pitcher and they got fastball hits,” Bees Coach Jason Georges said. “We beat this team at the end of the season, but we know how tough they are and they showed it.”
While the Bees did pull within 7-4, CV-Muir Chase iced the game in the fourth with a four-run frame in which the visitors took a 13-4 advantage.
In that inning, Bekah Charters, Mireya Garcia, Julia Moran and Okimoto all scored runs after reaching consecutively with one out.
“I’m proud of the way the girls competed today,” Thayer said. “They played well and now we’re looking forward to all-stars.”
The Bees’ best inning was the second, when they scored three runs on a run-scoring single from Nicolette Pirjanian, a single from Sophie Georges and on an error.
Despite the loss, Jason Georges was proud of his team.
“This was a team that had seven players for some games on one time six players,” Jason Georges said. “So, to get to this point is rewarding.”