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Kiwanis comes on late for 6-3 junior win

Softball: Crescenta Valley Kiwanis beats cross-town rival, Muir-Chase.

June 18, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

MONTROSE — Cross-town rivalries usually bring out the best in teams. That wasn't the case when two Crescenta Valley teams, Kiwanis and Muir-Chase, combined for six errors, eight walks and five hit batters in a first-round game of the Tri-City Junior Division Softball Tournament.

There was only one hit between the Crescenta Valley teams after five and a half innings of play. Kiwanis' bats finally came alive in the bottom of the fifth for two big hits and three runs in a 6-3 victory over Muir.

Will Thayer, Kiwanis' coach, was proud of his team's ability to make the adjustment at the plate and pick up the win, even if it wasn't pretty.

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"The girls were chasing a lot of bad balls," Thayer said. "I told them to lay off the high stuff and make sure it was something they could handle. It finally sunk in a little bit."

The game looked like it might be a high-scoring affair, as both teams put up three runs in the first inning, but pitching ended up dominating most of the contest.

"Obviously, it was a sloppy game for both sides, there were very few hits," said Muir's Coach John Heurkins.

Muir took control early on in the game, after it loaded the bases with one out in the first inning with a single and two errors. Olivia Thayer, Kiwanis' pitcher, looked like she danced out of danger after she struck out the next two batters. Her catcher, Clair O'Conner, dropped the third strike on the second putout, though, and was confused when the runners started coming home.

O'Conner didn't think runners could advance on a dropped third strike with two outs and the bases loaded. When she realized she could, she fired a throw to first that bounced off the runner's back. Paige Trestrail, Kiwanis' first baseman, fired a throw home but it was off target and a total of three runners scored on the play.

"We didn't really understand what was going on, it's a learning experience in a way," said Olivia, who came back to strike out the next batter to end the inning.

Thayer turned in a gem, however, tossing a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts to just one walk.

"This team is our rival, so I tried my best to strike people out and hit my spots," she said. "This game meant a lot to me."

Muir's early 3-0 lead didn't faze Kiwanis, which answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the first to tie the game.

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