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Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Stars silently hope second time's a charm

Softball: With an eye on third title, squad prepares for rematch with Tri-Valley, which defeated CV, 18-14, Sunday at 4 p.m.

July 20, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Everyone knew its season and championship would be on the line in just about 24 hours, but the Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star softball team never talked about the elephant on the field during a Saturday morning practice.

CV Coach Mark Bitetti spent practice reinforcing the basics of the game: hitting, fielding and throwing. Not once did he bring up the team’s rematch with the District 58 and Section 9 champion Tri-Valley in the final round of the Southern California Championship Divisional tournament Sunday at 4 p.m. at Harvey Field in Jurupa Valley.

“We didn’t even talk about the game tomorrow, they’re just a little family,” said Bitetti, whose team would face Tri-Valley in an if-necessary championship game Monday at 6 p.m. if it wins Sunday. “Everybody that shows up, they’re all just happy to see each other. They like being around one another, like today, eight of them are out swimming at a parent’s house right now.”

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While his team was relaxing, Bitetti was giving the upcoming game some thought.

When Crescenta Valley lost on Wednesday to Tri-Valley, 18-14, it fell into a big hole early due to a number of mistakes and was nearly done in by the 10-run mercy rule a number of times.

“Uncharacteristic errors, unnecessary throws and stuff we hadn’t been doing,” Bitetti said of what hurt his team in its one loss this year, while chalking it up to nerves. “I think both teams didn’t play their best that game. … I don’t think we saw their best and I don’t think they saw our best.

“They were just really tight, really anxious and I don’t know why. It’s hard to put a finger on it. There’s days when things don’t go your way. Once things start to fall apart, it goes from really bad to worse, that’s what happened in that game. They’re young, they get caught up in all the emotions of the whole thing.”

While CV did end up losing Wednesday, it managed to score a moral victory that could pay big dividends Sunday.

After giving up a seven-run second and four-run third inning, Crescenta Valley found itself in a 14-3 hole. It managed to pull within three runs, 17-14, before Tri Valley capped the scoring in the fifth.

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