GLENDALE - The Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Stars softball team has a special situational cheer that starts with “She's a grand slam hitter.”
With the bases loaded against Canyon Country on Sunday and Aidyn Kehrli at the plate, the CV team went into that specific cheer.
Kehrli responded with a hit to the deepest part of center field, raced around the bases and beat the throw home for, yes, a grand slam.
“In my head I said 'I want to hit a grand slam,'” Kehrli said.
Propelled by the grand slam, Crescenta Valley defeated Canyon Country, 12-2, after four innings in the second round of the Section 2 Tournament at Scholl Canyon. Crescenta Valley now moves on to play Tuesday in the tournament championship.
Kehrli's bases-clearing hit was part of a wild nine-run second inning for Crescenta Valley. In that inning alone, CV logged a home run, two triples, a double and two singles. The squad also benefited from four walks and three Canyon Country errors.
“Those bats came alive, didn't they?” said Crescenta Valley Coach MarkBitetti. “I have never seen hitting like that at a 9-10. That's the best I've ever seen.”
The offensive firepower was more than enough for Crescenta Valley's solid pitching. Starter Katie Ward struck out three, walked one and allowed no hits in two innings of work. Sara Wells allowed two runs on a hit and a walk while striking out two in two innings.
“Katie Ward pitched extremely well today,” Bitetti said. “She got us started off and got momentum going. That was huge for us because that's a very good team, Canyon Country.”
Ward said she was nervous heading into the tournament, because she hadn't played in a while.
“Today I felt comfortable,” Ward said. “It was fun to find out if I could pitch to [Canyon Country], because they hit.”
Esther Choi added a triple, single, an RBI and scored a run for Crescenta Valley. Natalie Bitetti also had a triple and scored twice.
Crescenta Valley next plays at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Scholl Canyon and will face the winner of Monday's contest between Canyon Country and Quartz Hill, which defeated San Marino, 18-13, in nine innings on Sunday.
Ward said that the keys to victory will be practicing hard and not making errors. She also had an explanation for Crescenta Valley's in-game energy pouring from the dugout.
“We have so much energy,” Ward said. “Sometimes some people have candy before the games.”