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Juniors ready to test depth

Softball: Crescenta Valley All-Star team looks to use same formula of clutch pitching and hitting in Section 2 Tournament.

July 16, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

GLENDALE — While focusing on the District 16 Junior Softball All-Star Tournament, Will Thayer couldn't help but look ahead at sizing up the competition for the Section 2 Tournament in case Crescenta Valley advanced.

Thayer, the Crescenta Valley coach, made road trips to the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys to get a better grasp on the strengths and weaknesses of future opposition from those respective districts.

Now that Crescenta Valley has advanced to the Section 2 Tournament, Thayer is looking for his breakdown analysis to be helpful for his squad when it opens the four-team tournament at 8 p.m. today against District 51 champion Quartz Hill at Monte Vista Little League Field in Lancaster. San Marino, the District 17 representative, will meet District 40 champion Canyon Country at 5 p.m.

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Crescenta Valley advanced after it recorded a 15-1 win against Burbank on Tuesday in the District 16 championship game at Scholl Canyon Ball Fields.

"I've seen two of the other three teams that we might face in Quartz Hill and Canyon Country, but I've not yet seen San Marino, who is a perennial power," Thayer said. "I think based on what I've seen of Canyon Country and Quartz Hill, we tend to match up well against them.

"When you get to Section 2, the competition is usually that much better. Now, we are playing against some players who we have not seen before."

Thayer said he's confident that Crescenta Valley can continue to do what it's done best of late — put up multiple-run innings and turn to the pitching staff to hold the opposition at bay.

Crescenta Valley's top pitchers include Olivia Thayer and Adela Alatraca.

One through nine in the batting order, Crescenta Valley can do different things. It has power and speed to push across runs at a feverish pace, led by Tiffany Briscoe, Alatraca, Olivia Thayer and Marissa Cornelius.

Alatraca, a second baseman when not in the circle, said she's looking forward to competing in the tournament after missing it last year because of a broken left leg she suffered in a non-softball incident.

"For me, I've never been this far and it was hard to miss [the tournament] last time," said Alatraca, who recorded three hits and drove in three runs against Burbank. "It will be exciting for the team to play again and we've gotten closer.

"We have a lot of different parts that make the team so good. Some of us can hit real well and some of us are good fielders and you need that to win."

The Section 2 championship game will be played at 7 p.m. Tuesday. An if-necessary title game would be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The winner will advance to the Southern California State Championships in Victorville.

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