It’s not over until it's over is a baseball truth that stands, no matter the age.
Just ask the Foothill Montrose Travel baseball team.
Foothill rallied from six runs down to defeat Crescenta Valley Prolacta, 8-7, at Montrose Community Park on Monday in the semifinals of the District 16 Minor Baseball Tournament of Champions. Foothill will face the Burbank Cardinals in the finals at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
“I told the boys it was early, we still had time, and our boys have been able to respond all year with late-inning hitting,” said Foothill Coach Mike Perez. “We've taken difficult paths, so the boys are used to it. They settled down.”
Prolacta (13-3-1) got on the board first with five runs in the first inning, keyed by a two-run single from Steve Lahendro. Crescenta Valley added another run in the top of the third and, with a 6-0 advantage, looked to be on its way to an easy win.
But then Montrose Travel (16-3-4) came alive, first with three runs in the bottom of the third to pull within 6-3. But it was the five-run fourth inning that put Foothill ahead for good, 8-6, capped by a two-run single from Ethan Perez.
“Craziness,” Ethan Perez said of his team's mindset after falling behind, 6-0. “We've got to get back in this game.”
Prolacta added a run in the fifth to pull to within 8-7 and threatened with two runners on in the sixth, but came up just short.
The contest was marked by the amount of free passes handed out. The two squads combined for 20 walks.
Montrose Travel pitcher Josh Malone was solid in relief, allowing only one run off one hit while striking out seven in 2 2/3 innings.
Zando Arzo had a pair of singles for Montrose Travel.
Prolacta's Ben Eslter had a triple in the losing effort.
“We tell them they had a great year,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Rich Medina. “We tell them they did a good job overall and that we're super proud of their effort.”
Mike Perez indicated that Foothill is looking to right some wrongs from last year.
“I think they're excited that we were eliminated here last year in this game,” the coach said. “For the most part it's the same team and we want to get to the final to win it for Foothill.”
Ethan Perez knows what's needed to clinch the tournament title on Wednesday.
“We've still got to swing and we've still go to hit the ball and have solid defense,” he said.