Crescenta Valley Major All-Stars have wild comeback in winning Section 2 softball opener

QUARTZ HILL — For the members of the Crescenta Valley Major Softball All-Star team, battling back after falling behind early in games is something they have encountered many times before.

That’s the exact spot the squad found itself in Friday in the opening game of the Section 2 Tournament against San Marino.

Mistakes and a potent San Marino starting pitcher put Crescenta Valley behind by six runs in the second inning.

But the District 16 champions didn’t wilt under the pressure. On the contrary, Crescenta Valley scrapped its way back, scoring five runs in the fifth inning to cap a torrid comeback and walking away with an 11-8 victory in the double-elimination tournament at the Quartz Hill Little League.

With the win, Crescenta Valley advances to the championship round and will play at 7 p.m. Saturday against either host Quartz Hill or Granada Hills.

“The two teams that make up this all-star squad are used to having to come back after falling behind,” Crescenta Valley Coach David Fox said. “They have had to do that in too many games, so it’s something that they’ve had to do before this game.”

It was nothing short of a disastrous start for Crescenta Valley. San Marino, which captured the District 17 championship, took advantage of mistakes to push across six runs and take a 6-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

San Marino had just one hit and Crescenta Valley committed two errors in the first inning that saw CV fall behind, 2-0.

In the second, San Marino collected four hits and took advantage of one error to push across four more runs.

“At that point, we talked about how we had to continue to fight back and try to keep our heads up,” said Crescenta Valley starting pitcher Taylor Hoogenhuizen, who had a hit and a walk. “We were all just really nervous in the beginning.”

Crescenta Valley could do little against San Marino starting pitcher Sammy Edmonds in the early going. Against the first four Crescenta Valley batters in the first and second innings, Edmonds threw 12 of 13 pitches for strikes and struck out three.

But her dominance came to an end with one out in the second when Everly Pompa doubled to center for Crescenta Valley’s first hit. Pompa scored on a single by Jordan Hinkle and Hinkle came home on a single by Melissa Iyoya.

San Marino came back, however, scoring two runs in the third to put its lead back at six, 8-2.

Edmonds was pulled in the third inning, and Crescenta Valley responded by scoring two runs in the inning and tacking on two more in the fourth to whittle the advantage down to 8-6.

“I thought if they brought back in that starting pitcher we might have problems,” Fox said. “She was very good. But I guess they’re saving her for the next game.”

Whereas errors were costly for Crescenta Valley early on, mistakes led to San Marino’s demise in the fifth when CV was able to score five runs thanks in part to four errors. Francescia Nolte (two for three with a walk, two runs scored and a run batted in) and Elizabeth Heinemann (two runs) drove in runs in the fifth.

“I give a lot of credit to our girls for not giving up,” Fox said. “They were out there trying their best and they were able to do it.”

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