Crescenta Valley 10-11 baseball downs Burbank-Tujunga to take title

GLENDALE — Fueled by a relentless and high-powered offense, Crescenta Valley defeated Burbank-Tujunga to claim the District 16 10-11 All-Star championship Monday evening at Montrose Park.

Hunter Cuneo, who batted in the No. 2 slot for Crescenta Valley, led the team with three hits. Cuneo also received plenty of run support from the rest of the offense, as he pitched three innings and was the winning pitcher in the team's title-clinching 18-2 victory.

PHOTOS: District 16 10-11 baseball championship, Crescenta Valley vs. Burbank-Tujunga

"I went up there with confidence, timed the pitches and went with it," said Cuneo, whose single in the third inning scored the final run of the game.

Crescenta Valley's bats were active and aggressive from the get-go to the tune of seven runs on five hits in the first inning. Nico Koury's two-run single initiated the onslaught. Koury and Braden Bentzen were picked up on Brian Harley's two-run single for a 4-0 advantage.

Also in the first, Sam Kunz used his legs to beat out a throw at first, which also allowed Devon Ramaker to score. Crescenta Valley's lead-off hitter, Vincent Parrott, took advantage of his second at-bat of the inning, lining a double and scoring the sixth and seventh runs of the frame.

Burbank-Tujunga defeated Crescenta Valley on Sunday, but its bats wouldn't be nearly as potent against Cuneo and Crescenta Valley in the deciding game.

Cuneo needed just 36 pitches to get through three innings and gave up four hits, including a solo home run to Hyatt Entz in the second inning, to cap off the scoring for Burbank-Tujunga.

Entz's long ball was the second in the game, as it followed a three-run shot off the bat of Trent Steele in the top half of the second. Steele's home run gave Crescenta Valley an 11-0 advantage.

For the second time in the contest, Crescenta Valley used five hits to score seven runs — this time in the third inning — extending an already comfortable cushion. Ramaker, Steele, Kunz, Talon Carvalho, and Cuneo all picked up RBI in the frame.

Steele's four RBI led the team and Kunz (three), Koury (two), Harley (two), Parrott (two) and Ramaker (two) also plated multiple runs with their at-bats.

"We're a solid team offensively," Crescenta Valley Coach Dean Baker said. "We can hit most pitching, and it showed tonight. We came out of the gates swinging, it worked out."

Burbank-Tujunga's Stone Shaefer, Bubba McCubbin, Alberto Ayala and Entz accounted for the team's four hits of the lopsided affair.

"Our pitcher pitched well in the first and second, but he just didn't get the plays behind him," Burbank-Tujunga Coach Tony Castiglioni said, referring to starter Shane Cathcart. "It's a team sport. We played together, just didn't get it done.

"I'm proud of the kids. It's not always about the final score, but about how the kids feel, and I'm happy about how they feel about themselves."

Crescenta Valley will next play in the sectionals, starting Saturday in Sherman Oaks. Baker said he is confident in his squad, but is also aware that it will be taking on unfamiliar competition.

"It's somewhat the unknown," he said. "We haven't been able to scout, but going on previous years, we know it's not going to be easy. I think we have a good team, though, who can hit the ball well."

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