PHOTOS: Foothill All-Stars vs. Burbank All-Stars Little League softball championship
The squad's patience coupled with the wildness of 15 walks from host Burbank led to an 8-6 victory Wednesday evening at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields in the District 16 All-Stars Tournament championship game.
The triumph completed a brief two-game sweep for CV-Foothill versus Burbank after a 15-5 win on Tuesday and advanced the Jewel City club to the Section 2 tournament at San Marino Little League on Sunday at 4 p.m. versus the District 51 champion.
“This was reminiscent of our win on Tuesday,” said CV-Foothill Coach Mark Bitetti, who is also the assistant wrestling coach at Hoover High. “We built this big lead and then had to hold on.
“For us, it was about not swinging ourselves out of the inning and just about taking what the other team gives you. Burbank gave us a battle and we just held on.”
Perhaps no half inning better explained the outcome for both teams than did the top of the second.
CV-Foothill entered the frame up, 2-1, and increased its lead by six runs after sending 12 players to the plate.
Yet, all those batters only collected one hit, a run-scoring single from Natalie Bitetti that plated Ellie Escobar for the inning's first run.
CV-Foothill was the beneficiary of eight walks in the inning.
At one point, a pair of Burbank pitchers surrendered five straight free passes that were bookended between a sacrifice fly to center from Taylor Hoogenhuizen that scored Kylee Lousararian and an inning-ending pop-up induced by reliever Alex Davis, the team's starting pitcher who was reinserted.
By the time the dust settled, CV-Foothill led, 8-1.
“It's easy to say it's the umpire's fault, but we're not going to do that,” said Burbank co-coach Manny Travieso, who shared the skipper duties with Marc Dabbadie. “We didn't find the zone and we gave them five runs in that inning because of that. That's the difference.”
To its credit, Burbank battled back with two runs in the second, two more in the third and a solo score in the bottom of the sixth to put pressure on CV-Foothill.
The sixth run came on an outfield error that allowed leadoff batter Davis (two for three with a triple, two RBI and a run scored) to score and advanced hitter Lillyanna Travieso to second.
For the first time since early in the contest, Burbank had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the sixth.
Fortunately for CV-Foothill, there was no swoon from starting pitcher Natalie Bitetti, who recorded a popout to short for the final out.
“It was nerve-wracking that last inning,” Mark Bitetti said.
Despite trailing by seven runs one and half innings into the contest, Burbank scored two runs in the second to pull within 8-3 on a two-run triple from Davis that scored Danielle
Morejon and Nicoletta Davis.
In the third, Burbank sliced its deficit to 8-5 thanks again to two runs, the first coming on a single from Sam Fiorella and a single from Nicoletta Davis that brought home Fiorella.
Despite outhitting CV-Foothill, 8-3, Burbank was unable to mount a final rally.
CV-Foothill started matters off well by plating two runs in the first inning, thanks in part to some fleet feet.
Jewel City base runners stole two bags and advanced another two bases on wild pitches, the first which plated courtesy runner Francesca DiMundo, who entered for Natalie Bitetti, who singled.
The run gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. CV-Foothill's other run came on a scoring single from Ashley Hernandez that drove home Hoogenhuizen.
Burbank countered with a run in its bottom half of the inning to climb within 2-1 when a two-out single from Ashley London and a stolen base from her pinch-runner Morgan Mersola translated into a run after a wild pitch and an infield throwing error.
Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.