JURUPA VALLEY — On two occasions Wednesday night, the Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Stars softball team appeared on the verge of having its game called because of the 10-run mercy rule.
In both occasions, Crescenta Valley fought off the contest being abbreviated before launching a late comeback bid.
Tri-Valley in a Southern California Championship Divisional winner’s-bracket game at Harvey Field.
“We just ran out of time,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Bitetti, whose team will meet a team to be determined in an elimination game at 7 p.m. Friday at the same venue. “We just dug ourselves a little too deep of a hole, but I liked the way we were able to bounce back and make a game of it.
“We did everything we could to claw back. We have to go back to the way we are capable of playing.”
Tri-Valley advanced to the championship contest at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Crescenta Valley, which entered Wednesday’s game fresh off a 9-1 win against Culver City on Sunday, trailed, 14-3, with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. However, it found a way to stave off the game being halted by scoring five runs to pull to within 14-8.
Crescenta Valley’s Natalie Bitetti said Crescenta Valley, which earlier captured the District 16 and Section 2 championships, made a few mistakes that led to the team having to play catch-up.
“I think maybe we were a little nervous,” Natalie Bitetti said. “It was hard to have to try coming back.
“We just have to cut down on our mistakes in the next game. I think we can do that and win.”
Crescenta Valley scored a pair of runs on consecutive wild pitches to grab a 2-0 lead in the first. Tri-Valley, which won the District 58 and Section 9 crowns, then scored three runs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-2 lead.
Crescenta Valley tied it in the second on a bases-loaded walk to Bitetti on a full-count pitch.
Tri-Valley regained the momentum by scoring seven runs in the second to take a 10-3 lead. It then scored four runs in the third to pad the lead at 14-3 before Crescenta Valley mounted a comeback.
With two outs and a runner on first, Crescenta Valley then scored five runs on walks with the bases loaded to trim the deficit to 14-8.
Tri-Valley scored three runs in the fourth to make it 17-8, but Crescenta Valley wouldn’t fold.
A bases-loaded walk to Karlie Vinceri made it 17-13. A run-scoring single by Bitetti sliced the lead to 17-14, but Crescenta Valley couldn’t get any closer.
Tri-Valley scored a run in the fifth to complete the scoring.
Crescenta Valley finished with nine hits, receiving two apiece from Bitetti and Esther Choi.
Crescenta Valley’s offense finished with 17 walks. Eights of those walks translated into runs.
Mark Bitetti said Crescenta Valley will look to regroup for Friday’s game.
“I liked the way we were able to come back,” Bitetti said. “We just have to get back to doing the things we did well all along and settle down.”