After marching to their District 16 and Section 2 titles with relative ease, the Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior All-Stars entered the Southern California Division III tournament with the promise of the road getting tougher and the games more filled with pressure.
In its opener at Scholl Canyon Park, that promise came true, as the CV-Foothill softball team got its first taste of adversity against Section 9 champion Tri-Cities before storming back and methodically piling up runs to win 17-5 to open divisional play Sunday night.
“They hit the ball hard and reacted well to adversity, so I’m happy,” CVFH Coach Will Thayer said.
CVFH scored two in the top of the first, but was then touched for three runs in the bottom of the inning after giving up a single run total in its four previous games covering district and sectional play.
“We got off to a quick start and they came back and smacked us directly in the mouth with three right in the first and the girls were a little bit in shock,” Thayer said.
However, undeterred, CVFH, which also features some Burbank players, scored three runs of its own in the top of the second.
CVFH catcher Alex Howard tied the game at 3 with a single up the middle to drive in Julia Smith. The next batter, pitcher Jordan Lousararian, followed with another single up the middle to score Howard, grabbing the lead back. After adding one more run on a Tri-Cities error, CVFH had a 5-3 advantage after two and would not trail again.
The CVFH All-Stars scored two or more runs in six of the seven innings. Howard led the way with four RBIs. She hit a two-run double as part of her team’s five-run third inning and drove in her final run with a groundout in the sixth that saw her squad score two.
Camie Ellingford had three RBIs by way of a two-run double in the third and a triple down the left-field line in the sixth.
Both Lousararian and Brenda Gamez contributed two RBIs apiece. Both plated a run in the opening inning. Lousararian drove in her second in the second.
Lousararian settled in nicely after giving up the three runs on four hits in the first inning. She pitched four full innings, striking out three, for the win, allowing a solitary hit after the first.
“I think we started a little nervous in the first inning, then did a good job of coming back and playing our game,” Lousararian said.
Two runs came around in the fifth thanks to a double by Alexis Ochoa, who also had a two-run double in the opening frame to finish with four RBIs. Gamez came in and pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings, recording her fourth strikeout on the last batter of the evening.
“That is a really tough club over there. The score is not reflective of that. They made a few errors,” Thayer said of Tri-Cities, which gave up three seventh-inning runs on fielding mistakes.
So, with its first taste of adversity behind it, the CVFH All-Star squad moves forward to continue along the road on Tuesday to repeating as divisional champs.
“The next game is against Westchester,” Thayer said. “We’ve watched them play a couple times. They’re a good club, at least equal to this club, probably better.”