World Series, state ascents highlight baseball and softball summer seasons

Many snapshot moments occurred throughout the 2013 Little League season.

Some local teams repeated achievements from a year ago, like the Arroyo Seco Saints run to the Palomino World Series and the Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior All-Star softball team’s appearance in the Southern California State tournament.

Other teams had the joy of soaking up all new experiences and success. After a wild walk-off game in the District Tri-Cities tournament, the Crescenta Valley Kiwanis and Aristo minor softball teams joined forces for a Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star softball run in which they racked up District 16 and Section 2 titles and advanced to the Southern California State Championship final – going as far as a 9-10 team could possibly go.

Many players stood out on diamonds across the area before taking their talents to other regions. And there were plenty of wild moments along the way, from forfeits and walk-offs to surprise late additions to regional rounds.

The following is a recap of the area's Little League season:


With several local players and St. Francis High Coach Aaron Milam on board again, the Arroyo Seco Saints enjoyed another successful summer and matched the program’s best finish with a trip to the Palomino World Series semifinal in consecutive years.

“This team is everything to me. They have that fighting mentality and I love to be a part of it,” said Patrick Adams, a Crescenta Valley High product and Saint, after Arroyo Seco’s season-ending loss to Puerto Rico on Friday. “This has been a great experience to be on a team that battles every game and I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Arroyo Seco began the postseason competing in the PONY Southern California Regional Tournament at Jackie Robinson Field in Pasadena. It reached the championship game before falling, 10-5, to the Colton Nighthawks. The Saints grabbed one of the two spots from the tournament to advance to the West Zone Tournament in Compton.

Things appeared to turn south when Arroyo Seco lost consecutive games, as it opened the West Zone with a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Giants. The Saints rode the dip and continued to climb back up by winning their next five games to advance to the World Series. They stamped their ticket to the next round with a 6-3 victory over the South Bay Legacy.

“You have two teams with players going to big-time colleges and it’s about trending and making big plays,” Milam said.

Back in Compton, the Saints started the World Series off with a 13-0 win against Indonesia. Arroyo Seco then ran into a Puerto Rico squad that proved too much to overcome. It first fell to the eventual runner-up team, 16-4, before the Saints rebounded with a dominating 14-1 win over Central Michigan.

While Arroyo Seco played much better in the rubber match with Puerto Rico, it was doomed by one inning — a four-run, three-hit second frame.

“I’d love to play Puerto Rico 20 more times because when you play teams that are better than you, they make you play better,” Milam said. “Every year, the season has ended with a loss and it’s difficult because this team is part of my family.

“I’m definitely satisfied we were able to make it this far and am proud of our accomplishments.”


It appeared the La Crescenta Babe Ruth 14-year-old team’s season was over when it lost both games to Westchester in the Babe Ruth state tournament, which it hosted at Dunsmore Park and Stengel Field.

A phone call put La Crescenta back in action when it was invited to the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament in Surprise, Ariz. when another team dropped out. It kept the season alive for La Crescenta and sent the group on to the regional round for the first time under coach Marcel Martinez.

La Crescenta opened state strong, with a 31-1 win against Heartwell, before falling to Westchester, 8-0. La Crescenta mercied Heartwell again, 11-1, to advance to the championship round where it fell again to Westchester, 7-3.

In Arizona, La Crescenta couldn’t match its strong start the round before. It opened pool play with two losses to one of two Arizona squads, 11-1, and Hawaii, 4-1. La Crescenta kept hope of moving forward alive with a 13-6 win over Nevada before it ran into its oh-so-familiar rival from Westchester.

Yet again, Westchester wasn’t to be outdone in a 10-5 win over La Crescenta, which was eliminated in the defeat.

“It was a real good learning experience both for the kids and the coaches,” Martinez said of the Pacific Southwest Regionals. “You think the level of baseball you play locally is as good as it gets, and you go out to a regional tournament like this and you’re exposed to see these teams that are very good. We need to get better as an area as far as building up these types of teams. We need to get better to compete at this level.”

La Crescenta’s 15-year-old Babe Ruth team participated in the Southern California State Tournament in Torrance. La Crescenta opened the tournament with a 3-1 win over Westchester before suffering a 14-6 loss against Torrance. Its season came to a close with a 15-5 loss against Westchester.


For the trio of Crescenta Valley champions, every road to the end of Tri-Cities tournaments was different. Crescenta Valley Muir Chase won the junior softball title and Crescenta Valley Kelly Small claimed the junior baseball championship with mercy-rule victories.

It was Crescenta Valley Kiwanis that provided the most exciting championship finale with a 14-13 win over Crescenta Aristo in the minor softball finale. It took a game-winning, two-run, walk-off double from Natalie Bitetti in the sixth inning to the end the dramatic contest.

“She’s been our leader,” Kiwanis Coach Mark Bitetti said. “She always wants the ball in a pressure situation.

“It was a back and forth struggle. They had a big inning, we had a big inning. We just had the last one.

“Hats off to Aristo, they had a great year.”

CV Muir Chase posted a 15-5 victory against the Foothill Bees for the junior softball championship. In junior baseball, Crescenta Valley Kelly Small picked up an 11-1 win against Crescenta Valley Augusta in the championship game before posting a 17-3 victory in the if-necessary title contest.



Looking to build on last year’s historical success, the Crescenta Valley-Foothill junior softball team brought in two players with Burbank ties. CVFH returned about half of its roster from last year, while welcoming a second half of new additions.

All those pieces came together quickly, as CVFH ran away with the District 16 Junior All-Star championship with an 18-0 win over Tujunga.

Overall, Crescenta Valley dominated the District 16 All-Star round with all five local winners hailing from CV.

After the dramatic Tri-Cities championship, CV Kiwanis and Aristo teamed up for a formidable Major all-star softball team. It won its bracket with a 7-1 victory over Tujunga in an if-necessary game.

Crescenta Valley 9-10 baseball relied on a pair of key doubles from Kai Purdy-Burton to earn a 14-12 win against Foothill to clinch its championship.

“That last inning was more stressful that I had hoped for,” said CV Coach Kevin Deitch, whose team forced the game contest with an earlier 14-7 victory. “I can’t be more proud of this group than right now.

“We had to win three straight games to get this done, including beating the same team twice. That speaks volumes.”

In other baseball action, Crescenta Valley 10-11 baseball rolled to an 18-2 victory against Burbank in the championship contest. The Crescenta Valley Junior baseball team rode overall good play to defeat Foothill-Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans, 8-4.


Hits kept coming for local softball teams, with Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior and CV 9-10 All-Star softball teams adding another tournament title to their collections in Section 2 play.

“I didn’t know how well we would do [this year], but they’re starting to feel good about themselves,” CV 9-10 Coach Mark Bitetti said, “and they think they can win any game they’re in.”

Bitetti’s squad, which advanced through District 16 as the only team, secured the Section 2 crown with all-around play from the plate, circle and the field for a 9-4 win over Canyon Country.

“Our hitting has been pretty good, we’re putting the bat on the ball. We were sending [the ball] to the fence, four or five balls,” Bitetti said after the game. “You don’t see that at the 9-10 level.

“We’re doing well, playing solid defense and the pitching has been outstanding.”

While CVFH wasn’t untouchable, it still cruised to the Section 2 championship with a 12-1 victory over West Lancaster. It was the first run CVFH had allowed in its first four games played, as it outscored its opponents, 65-1.

“It has been a little bit easy, but the next round certainly will not be,” CVFH Coach Will Thayer said. “This is the end of easy street.”

Crescenta Valley’s Major softball team came close to extending its season before falling to Granada Hills in the championship round, 6-4.

A trio of CV baseball teams also saw their seasons come to a close in Section 2 play.

Crescenta Valley 9-10 opened with an 8-0 loss to Quartz Hill before falling, 12-2, to Arcadia American to end its year. CV 10-11 finished its season with a 9-8 loss to San Marino and Crescenta Valley’s junior team was closed out in an 8-4 loss to Encino.


After phenomenal runs to championships at the Tri-Cities, district and section levels, both local softball squads met their match in Southern California State Championship action.

After opening the tournament with a forfeit victory and 9-1 win over Culver City, the Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star softball team fell to Tri-Valley, 18-14. CV climbed out of the loser’s bracket and into a championship rematch with Tri-Valley with an 11-8 victory against Hesperia.

Crescenta Valley’s bid to win a title fell short in a 16-13 defeat dealt by its familiar foe. Among those who stood out for Crescenta Valley were Natalie Bitetti, Katie Ward, Esther Choi and Alex Schwalbach.

“It took a group of girls to believe in one another to get to this point,” Mark Bitetti said.

One year removed from a Southern California State Championship win on the road over Westchester, the Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior All-Star softball team had its streak of dominance ended in a big way by Westchester.

CVFH opened the tournament with a 17-5 win over Tri-Cities but was mercied by Westchester, 12-0, to put it in a win-or-go-home game with South El Monte. Despite hosting the tournament at Scholl Canyon, Crescenta Valley-Foothill couldn’t pull out the win in a 5-3 season-ending loss.

“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.”

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