Crescenta Valley 9-10 softball All-Stars net another victory

It's a simple game plan that's worked positively throughout the postseason for the Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star softball team.

Instead of swinging away for the fences during each at-bat, Crescenta Valley has adopted the formula of putting the ball in play and using its speed to put up crooked numbers.

It worked again for Crescenta Valley, which posted a 9-1 win against Culver City on Sunday in a Southern California State Championship contest at Harvey Field in Jurupa.

Crescenta Valley, which previously won District 16 and Section 2 championships, will next face District 58 champion Tri-Valley in a semifinal game at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the same venue. The winner will advance to the tournament's title game Saturday and the loser will participate in an elimination game Friday. The if-necessary title game will be held Sunday.

"We just try to go out there and be opportunistic with our base running," Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Bitetti said. "It's been our style throughout and we just try to capitalize on everybody's mistakes and see what we can do from there.

"You try to keep chipping away and see what can happen."

Plenty happened for Crescenta Valley, which saw Culver City scratch out a run in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 advantage.

However, a pair of Culver City errors in the bottom of the first helped Crescenta Valley build a 3-1 lead.

A run-scoring double by Aidyn Kehlri gave Crescenta Valley a 4-1 lead. Crescenta Valley scored four runs in the fifth to complete the scoring.

"We put the ball in play and a lot of good things happened," Bitetti said. "It's not like we are knocking the heck out of the ball all of the time."

Crescenta Valley starting pitcher Katie Ward went the first two innings and struck out two. Reliever Natalie Bitetti went the final four innings, finishing with five strikeouts.

Crescenta Valley received strong defensive efforts from Kehlri at shortstop, Alex Schwalbach at first base and Emily Ruano at catcher.

Mark Bitetti said Crescenta Valley will be prepared for Tri-Valley.

"We don't know all that much about them," Bitetti said. "We want to continue being opportunistic, and I really like where we are right now with out hitting and defense."

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