Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior All-Star softball team's title hopes derailed

GLENDALE — Scoring runs throughout the postseason seemed to come natural for the members of the Crescenta Valley-Foothill All-Star Junior softball team.

Crescenta Valley-Foothill, which also features players from Burbank, entered the Southern California Championship Division III Tournament red hot after scoring 65 runs in its first four games en route to winning the District 16 and Section 2 tournaments.

While Crescenta Valley-Foothill carried that success over in the beginning of the division tournament, it ran into some quality pitching Tuesday and Wednesday.

Crescenta Valley-Foothill came back once, but couldn’t overcome a second deficit Wednesday night in a 5-3 loss to South El Monte in an elimination contest at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields.

“I think we were a little too anxious after losing [Tuesday],” said Crescenta Valley-Foothill Coach Will Thayer, referring to a 12-0 defeat against Westchester. “They wanted to get back at it.

“We had some chances, but we hit the ball hard right at people. We didn’t get the bounces. We saw the best pitcher we faced all year against Westchester. Tonight, the pitching wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before.”

South El Monte will meet Westchester in the championship game at 7 p.m. Thursday at Scholl. An if-necessary game would be played at 7 p.m. Friday at the same location if South El Monte is victorious.

Crescenta Valley-Foothill, which won the division tournament last season, finished with seven hits and left six on base. Six of its hits were singles.

CVFH second baseman Taylor Schaffer, who finished with a pair of singles, said her team had a tough time stringing hits together.

“We tried to stay positive going into the last inning,” Schaffer said. “The bats just weren’t there tonight.

“I think we were still somewhat disappointed after the loss the other night.”

South El Monte took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run double by Alexis Tovar.

Crescenta Valley-Foothill sliced the lead to 2-1 in the third on a run-scoring single by Alex Howard. Claire Smith of Crescenta Valley-Foothill tied the game on a run-scoring single in the fourth.

South El Monte regained the lead, 3-2, in the bottom of the fourth on a run-scoring triple by Natalie Aguilar.

South El Monte added a pair of runs in the fifth. Amanda Pimatel made it 4-2 with a run-scoring single before Celia Gonzalez walked with the bases loaded to extend the advantage to 5-2.

Down to its final three outs, Crescenta Valley-Foothill tried to mount a comeback. With one out, Camie Ellingford blooped a single to center and then stole second base. After Howard popped to shortstop for the second out, Jordan Lousararian doubled to right to score Ellingford to make it 5-3.

Aguilar, the South El Monte pitcher, stopped the bleeding when she induced a groundout to second to dash CVFH’s title aspirations.

“We would have loved to move on to Arizona [for the regional],” Thayer said. “I’m still happy for our team, and we will have roughly half of them coming back next year.”

Brenda Gamez and Elli Yao each scored a run for Crescenta Valley-Foothill, which got one hit from Sophie Georges.

Pimatel and Aguilar had two hits each for South El Monte.

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