“It’s a new team every year, but now it gets fun,” said San Gabriel Valley Coach Phil Torres, who also serves as coach at Crescenta Valley High. “You’ve got to have that great pitching and defense.
“You never want to play [an if-necessary championship game] because anything can happen and you don’t want to give [La Crescenta] another shot.”
San Gabriel Valley jumped out to a 2-0 first-inning lead on back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Tim Smoley and Cody Regis, who also made two quality defensive plays at shortstop.
La Crescenta, which features a group of former and current players from Hoover, Burroughs and Burbank, responded with a run in the bottom of the first on a single to right by Taylor McCauley off San Gabriel Valley starting pitcher Bryce Rutherford.
“I don’t know some of those guys real well, other than facing them in high school,” said Rutherford, a right-hander and an Arcadia graduate. “I was a little shaky in the first inning, but I was able to find my groove from the second inning on.”
Rutherford limited La Crescenta to two runs (one earned) and three hits in five innings. Reliever Jacob Cage finished two scoreless innings to pick up the save for San Gabriel Valley, which advanced to the title game Sunday with a 9-3 win against Bishop Amat.
La Crescenta Coach Bob Mott said his team couldn’t catch any breaks despite battling San Gabriel Valley right up to the final out.
“We’d hit the ball in the air deep instead of on the ground,” said Mott, whose team reached the title game Monday with a 9-2 win against Bishop Amat. “[Regis] is amazing, and they made the plays.
“We hung in there with them. If you want to play in a championship game, then this is the way you want it to be played.”
After San Gabriel Valley took a 3-1 lead on a run-scoring single by Jerry Mc Clanihan in the fourth, La Crescenta answered right back in its half on a home run by Hoover graduate Sako Chapjian. San Gabriel Valley added an insurance run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly.
SGV features six Crescenta Valley High players — Sean Elliott, Eddie Lee, Tyler Pollak, Troy Prasertsit, Nate Rousey, Joe Sedano and Elliott Surrey.
La Crescenta featured past and present Hoover players Jason and Adam Ochart, Oscar and Juan Aguirre, Tyler Delzell and Jason Tapia.