GLENDALE — Solid pitching backed by a good defense, as well as timely hitting to complement.
It’s hard to lose a baseball game when all three facets are clicking and the formula continued to prove true on Tuesday evening at Scholl Canyon, where the Crescenta Valley Junior All-Stars baseball team rode overall good play to defeat Foothill-Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans, 8-4, and win the District 16 junior league championship.
Crescenta Valley’s pitching allowed two hits, paced by starter Jason Chang, who struck out nine batters in 3 2/3 innings. The hurler had a perfect game going before walking his final batter of the game in the third inning when he reached the 50-pitch limit.
Chang’s counterpart, Conner Rodriguez, pitched well in more than five innings of work, but a mistake to Crescenta Valley’s clean-up hitter Kirk McCreary was belted over the left-field fence in the second inning to end the scoreless tie and give Crescenta Valley the lead that would not be relinquished.
“It was a grind, Foothill played well,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Bryan Rich after the victory. “Everyone contributed to the win. [Sanchez] pitched really well, Kirk got us started, [Adrian] Damla had some good at-bats.”
Crescenta Valley’s offense sprayed six hits, while taking advantage of nine walks and crucial errors on the field by Foothill’s pitching and defense to score the eight runs.
Ty Hill hit two doubles, including a two-run shot to left-center in the sixth. McCreary, Jamie Blank, Damla and Scott Vinceri accounted for the four other hits.
Rodriguez left the game with two outs in the fifth, with Foothill facing a 5-0 deficit—three of the runs unearned. He struck out three batters and walked five before being relieved by Fredy Sanchez.
“Conner pitched one hell of a game,” Foothill Coach Dave Miller said. “The error in the fifth gave them two runs and we fell apart after that.”
Foothill never got it going on offense, but did take advantage of two walks in the fourth, loading the bases and threatening to get on the scoreboard. The clutch hit would not come, though, as Crescenta Valley’s Frank Alsamman was able to get out of the inning unscathed.
From there, Crescenta Valley’s offense took control, scoring four in the fifth, and three in the sixth to give them a comfortable 8-0 advantage and put the game away.
Foothill’s offense was shut down until a four-run seventh inning cut the Crescenta Valley lead in half. It would be too little, too late, however.
“What it says on the scoreboard is not evident of how we played,” Miller said. “That’s a very good ballclub over there.”
Crescenta Valley will travel to Bonita Park in Arcadia for the Section 2 Tournament, with its first game Saturday at 3 p.m.