SHERMAN OAKS — It was never a question of whether the Crescenta Valley 10-11 All-Star baseball team could score runs in the Section 2 Tournament.
In its previous two games in the event, the locals proved to be potent with their bats, putting up 23 runs in a win against San Marino and a loss to Encino.
However, in the loss to Encino, Crescenta Valley struggled on the mound. It was those pitching woes that the squad was hoping wouldn’t come back to haunt it Monday in a rematch against San Marino as a win would put Crescenta Valley into the championship.
But the Crescenta Valley pitchers couldn’t keep San Marino in check, as the team saw its season come to an end with a 9-8 loss at Sherman Oaks Little League Fields.
The loss ends a successful season for Crescenta Valley, which captured a championship in District 16.
“They should be proud of themselves. They have nothing to be sad about,” Crescenta Valley Coach Dean Baker said. “I think they represented themselves well here in the sections and really showed the other districts they really are a force to be reckoned with in the future.
“This will be our 12-year-old team next year, most likely. With a little more experience and some more playing time together, I think they can come back next season and be successful.”
Despite defeating San Marino, 13-0, in its tournament opener Saturday, Crescenta Valley was taking nothing for granted in Monday’s rematch.
Early on, Crescenta Valley showed it possessed its share of firepower on offense. However, despite holding San Marino to just one run over the course of the first two innings, the Crescenta Valley pitching began to falter, as hurlers surrendered eight runs total in the third and fourth innings.
“They just had great hitting,” said Crescenta Valley’s Nico Koury, who was three for four with two runs scored and a run batted in, about San Marino. “They were just a solid team. We hit good too, but they just hit a little better.”
Crescenta Valley began the game with an offensive burst, as its first four batters got hits. Vincent Parrott led off the game with a double and scored on a base hit to center by Chase Smith (two for four with a double and an RBI). Hunter Cuneo then followed with a single and he was eventually brought home on a hit to center by Devon Ramaker. The final run of the first was scored by Cueno on an infield groundout by Brian Harley.
After San Marino tallied one run in its half of the first, Crescenta Valley made it 5-1 with two runs in the second. A run-scoring double by Smith and a single that scored a run by Koury have Crescenta Valley a nice cushion.
But San Marino started to get to the Crescenta Valley pitching in the third, pushing across three runs on four hits.
“I’ve said it before where it’s just a matter of our pitching not being our strongest point,” Baker said. “That kind of showed in the last two games for us. Our problems with pitching showed today. They waited back and were able to take advantage of our pitching.”
Crescenta Valley was able to pad its lead to 7-4 with two more runs in the fourth. Both runs were scored on a pair of San Marino throwing errors.
The fourth is when San Marino feasted on Crescenta Valley pitching, as it scored five runs on four hits to surge in front, 9-7. The big blow was a two-run home run by Tommy Long to straight-away center field that accounted for the eventual winning run.
Crescenta Valley made it a one-run game when Trent Steele reached base on an error and scored on a single to left field by Parrott in the fifth.
“You have to give San Marino credit; they played well today,” Baker said. “And they were able to come back after we beat them 13-0 earlier. It wasn’t like we gave it to them. But they battled, they put the ball in play and they did what they needed to do to win.”