By Michael YEGHAYAN
While the Crescenta Valley Junior All-Star softball team drew on a bit of everything to earn their way into the semi-finals of the Southern California State Championship, they came up two wins short of the championship with a 3-1 loss to Westchester Del Ray last Wednesday, July 27. Crescenta Valley brought its signature dominant pitching to its final game of the tournament, but defensive lapses and inconsistent offense sent the team home with its second loss to Westchester in the double elimination tournament.
Adela Alatraca and Olivia Thayer combined to provide Crescenta Valley a one-hitter and put the team in a strong position to grab the win. Unfortunately, the same bats that propelled CV to a combined 35 runs in its previous two games only managed to put a single batter across the plate against Westchester. Defensive errors, which emerged as an issue earlier in the tournament, compounded the problem and contributed to all three of the runs surrendered.
The Falcons run in the Victorville based tournament ended with a 6-2 overall record.
The team found their way to the semi-finals with a pair of quality wins in the games leading up to the loss. CV came out on top of an offensive battle against South El Monte with a 14-6 win while facing elimination, and had dominated North Park with a 21-1 win that was shortened by the mercy rule.
The combination of Thayer, Alatraca and Kellyn O’Leary kept Crescenta Valley in good position to win throughout most of the tournament with their excellent pitching performances. The trio combined for two no-hitters in addition to Alatraca and Thayer’s one-hit performance in the semi-final loss.
It was the defense, however, that emerged as the greatest threat to Crescenta Valley’s chances to advance to the finals of the tournament. The quarter-finals victory over South El Monte could largely be attributed to the teams ability to score runs. Yet by yielding three errors to the opposition, CV allowed South El Monte to keep the game close and put unncecessary pressure on the shoulders of CV’s pitchers.
Although Crescenta Valley was eliminated, the team put together a strong run that suggests a promising season will be in store for Falcon Softball. Consistency at the plate and a return to fundamentals in the field will place the team among the local softball elite.