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Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star softball team keeps title hopes alive

Softball: Locals get big efforts from Schwalbach at plate and Ward in circle to pick up 11-8 Southern California Championship Divisional victory.

July 19, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

JURUPA VALLEY — Put in a situation where there wasn’t room for error, the Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star softball team shored up its pitching and defense to keep its championship aspirations alive.

Thanks to some clutch hitting from Alex Schwalbach and timely pitching from Katie Ward, Crescenta Valley earned an 11-8 win against Hesperia on Friday night in a Southern California Championship Divisional elimination game at Harvey Field.

Crescenta Valley will face Tri-Valley in the tournament’s championship game at 4 p.m. Sunday at the same venue. An if-necessary contest would be held at 6 p.m. Monday at Harvey Field.

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Schwalbach had a key two-run double in the fourth to spur Crescenta Valley, which saw Ward go four innings in the circle to pick up the victory. Natalie Bitetti went the final two innings to notch the save.

“We went back to the things that have made us successful,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Bitetti, whose team finished with 13 hits. “We pitched a lot better and we didn’t make any errors, so that gave us a chance against a very good team.

“We went out there and eliminated a lot of mistakes. We put the ball in play and made some good things happen. I thought we came ready to play. We got a good effort from Katie when we needed it most.”

Ward struck out seven. The right-hander struck out the side in the second to provide Crescenta Valley with a spark.

Schwalbach, a first baseman who scored a pair of runs, said Crescenta Valley went back to the basics to earn the win.

“We knew that we had to keep calm,” Schwalbach said. “You start thinking about other things and that’s when you get in trouble.

“We knew we had to bounce back. It was fun to come out and get that lead. It’s great to be going to the championship game.”

Hesperia, which won the District 48 and Section 8 championships, took a 1-0 lead in the first on a run-scoring triple by Savannah Serrata. Hesperia had runners on second and third with two outs, but Crescenta Valley escaped the jam.

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