ARCADIA - After dropping their Section 2 tournament opener, the Crescenta Valley Junior All-Stars faced elimination as they took the field at Bonita Park against Palmdale, a team also in need of a victory to continue.
Palmdale jumped out early after two innings, but the CV squad then erupted for eight runs over the next two to take command and cruise to a 9-2 win Sunday afternoon, assuring itself at least one more game.
“This is a good win for our boys because we had a rough day yesterday,” CV Coach Bryan Rich said. “I was curious to see how they’d bounce back and they bounced back. I’m proud of them.”
The Crescenta Valley Junior All-Stars, the District 16 champions, trailed, 2-0, going into the third after giving up two unearned runs in the bottom of the second inning. David Arellano cut that lead in half with an RBI groundout, scoring Chucky Weinmann from third. Catcher Kirk McCreary followed with a run-producing single he drilled up the middle to tie the contest at 2. Two batters later, Frank Alsamman gave his team a lead it would never relinquish with a double that dropped into left field to drive in two runs.
“I knew I hit it on a line. I knew it was near the ground. I just kept running,” said Alsamman, who had three runs batted in.
Alsamman then scored the fifth and final run of the inning on a Jaimy Blank single for a 5-2 advantage.
Starting pitcher Shawn Kim sat down Palmdale, the District 51 champion, in order in the bottom of the third, allowing CV to pad its lead in the fourth with three more runs. Adrian Damla doubled to drive in the first one, followed by Arellano’s second run-producing groundout in as many innings, before Alsamman also brought home a run with a groundout for a commanding 8-2 lead.
“Put the ball in play,” Rich said of the key to his team’s offensive outburst. “[They] don’t have to play any defense when guys are striking out, but as long as you put the ball in play hard good things are going to happen.”
The first inning was an adventure for Kim and CV, as the first five batters to face him reached base. However, thanks to McCreary at catcher gunning out a would-be base stealer and a majority of the CV infield taking part in a rundown to erase another Palmdale base runner, Kim escaped the inning unscathed when he struck out Chris Lopez to end the frame.
“Rough start by our pitcher, but once he settled in he did a really good job,” Rich said of Kim, “threw a lot of strikes and our defense played pretty good behind him.”
Kim gave way to Trevor Beer, who pitched the fifth and sixth innings, holding Palmdale scoreless. Alsamman then took the mound for the seventh, giving up a lead-off single, but he later sealed the victory for his team by catching a pop fly off the bat of Andrew Lopez for the game’s final out.
Next for the CV Junior All-Stars is another game at the same location Monday at 6 p.m. against San Marino National or Encino.
“We’re just going to keep playing, doing anything we can to win,” Alsamman said.