Crescenta Valley Major softball opens tourney with win over Tujunga

GLENDALE — In a contest full of errors, it was perhaps one fielding gem and one baserunning miscue that tilted the favor of the Crescenta Valley Major All-Stars softball team in Saturday afternoon’s District 16 first-round action.

Crescenta Valley survived eight errors of its own in holding on to defeat defending champion Tujunga, 10-7, at Scholl Canyon Ball fields.

With the victory, Crescenta Valley advances into Sunday’s winner’s bracket action at 5:30 p.m. back at Scholl Canyon versus idle Foothill-Vaquero.

Tujunga will face the loser of Crescenta Valley-Foothill-Vaquero game Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the tournament’s first elimination contest.

“I think our biggest problem was ourselves. We jumped out to a lead and relaxed, made mistakes and gave a good Tujunga team way too many chances,” Crescenta Valley Coach David Fox said. “They’re always going to fight, so we’re going to have to play smarter.”

Despite leading by as many as six runs, Crescenta Valley was only up, 10-6, in the bottom of the sixth when Tujunga’s No. 8 hitter, Emma Johnson, singled to left field to lead off and advanced to second base via a throwing error.

After Crescenta Valley pitcher Taylor Hoogenhuizen induced a pop up for the inning’s first out, Tujunga’s Ashley Wright laced a run-scoring single to center, while moving up to second base on another outfield throwing error.

With momentum shifting toward Tujunga, the inning’s next batter, Lauren Coronado, bounced a two-hopper up the middle.

The hit would have reached center field, scored Wright and continued Tujunga’s rally if not for a great defensive play from Crescenta Valley shortstop Jordan Hinkle, who lunged for the ball to her right, but still managed to keep her balance enough to throw across her body, against its momentum, and beat Coronado by two steps.

“That was a huge play, an all-star play and maybe the most important play of the game,” Fox said. “If that goes as a hit, they score another run and who knows what happens.”

With two outs, Hoogenhuizen coaxed a little nubber back to the mound that she calmly flipped to first base to end the game.

“I’m used to pitching six innings, but can come in when my team needs me,” said Hoogenhuizen, who pitched the first two and final two innings of the game. “It’s great to win.”

With the game deadlocked at 3 through four innings, Crescenta Valley nearly blew open the contest with a six-run fifth inning.

Crescenta Valley’s Tyler Herman led off the inning with a double, which was the first of three consecutive hits by her squad.

The inning’s only other hit was a single from Brianna McReynolds, as Crescenta Valley scored half its runs thanks to three errors from Tujunga.

To its credit, Tujunga battled back for three runs in the bottom half of the inning, highlighted by a run-scoring triple from Ryelle Cox with one out, which accounted for the final run of the inning.

Cox may have had a chance to score on her three-bagger, but tripped near the third-base bag and fell down in pain.

Despite trying to crawl back to the bag, Cox was tagged and turned into a pivotal second out, which helped stunt Tujunga’s rally.

Crescenta Valley countered in the top of the sixth with a run when Hoogenhuizen doubled and eventually scored on an error at third base.

“We didn’t play our best, but I’m proud of the girls for playing hard and I give credit to CV,” Tujunga Coach Brian Oost said. “We’ll tighten some things up on defense and we’ll be ready Monday. We’re fine.”

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