By Roger SONDERGAARD
It began during Memorial Day in Irvine when the CSA 11U boys’ All Stars defeated a tough La Cañada All Star team and earned the bragging rights along Foothill Boulevard. But then, over the Fathers’ Day weekend at the Diamondrock Tournament in Westlake, the La Cañada team turned the tables and were back on top with a strong win over CSA on Saturday.
La Cañada had outstanding pitching and timely hitting against CSA, holding them in check with a strong defensive effort as well. Both teams were hoping for a rematch on Sunday, but they would have to go through some tough travel teams to get there.
While All Star teams have players strictly from their own recreational leagues, the travel teams have players who are all stars from multiple leagues as well as dedicated travel players. Many times the recreational leagues and All Star teams lose their players to travel teams. While some leagues are disappointed that it happens, others view it as a sign that their recreational league has developed players who love baseball and are ready to move on to play all year at a higher levels. Both “rec leagues” and travel teams serve these kids and their communities and it can be exciting when they meet up, as they did Sunday.
CSA put forth their most consistent effort of the tournament, but lost a one run game to the Central Coast Crushers, a travel team from Paso Robles, on Sunday. La Cañada also had to go up against a very strong travel team, the La Crescenta Thunder (a new member in the battle of the bouvard.). The Thunder includes former players from LC and CSA as well as some other top players from surrounding communities.
Despite a good effort from La Cañada, the Thunder’s powerful pitching and hitting proved to be the difference. The Thunder now owns the bragging rights along Foothill Boulevard and with a strong second day were also the runner up in the tournament.
Heading into this weekend, all three of these teams will be a part of the 6th Annual La Cañada Summer Smash Tournament from Friday through Sunday. While the tournament has several age divisions and teams from CSA, LC, and other areas, it will be exciting to see if the Thunder can keep the bragging rights or if CSA or La Cañada will win the battle.