The magic ran out for Crescenta Valley Kelly and Small in the District 16 Tri City Junior Baseball Tournament against the Jewel City Bears in Wednesday’s championship game. A couple of sloppy innings were enough to spoil Crescenta Valley Kelly and Small’s night as the Bears took home the crown by a score of 7-2 at in La Crescenta.
“It basically came down to two bad innings,” head coach David Bolstad said. “In those innings we made several mistakes that cost us those runs. Then again, if you only score two runs, you can’t win like that against a stellar opponent. We hit a lot of balls to their defense, and they all mostly became routine.”
Kelly and Small was limited in pitching, having played the day before against Crescenta Valley DCG Electric. Little League rules state that if any player throws 20 or more pitches, they must be granted at least a day’s worth of rest, with the amount of rest increasing with the number of pitches thrown in the previous outing. The Jewel City Bears not only came in with three day’s worth of rest, they also came off an improbable comeback against Kitchen from Crescenta Valley, scoring five runs with two outs in the final inning to pull off a 10-7 victory.
The loss also marked an end to one of the more uniquely bizarre tournament experiences for Kelly and Small. During the quarterfinals against the Burbank Bulldogs, a water main broke in the sixth inning, causing a flood that surrounded the outfield. It caused a massive delay, postponing a number of games in the tournament and shifting the site to another location to complete the game. Kelly and Small did advance, but it forced the winning team to play back-to-back games in order to play for the title.
“It became strategic since we had to alter the pitching a little bit,” Bolstad said. “At the end of the day though, it had little impact on a game like this. We just ran into a very competitive team.”
Kelly and Small’s Christian Castanedo of Kelly and Small went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Trying to rally late in the game, he felt that there could have been chances earlier to keep his team within a shot of winning.
“I could have had a better game when I look back,” Castaneda said. “I had to do what I had to do, and it was difficult since it wasn’t enough to get us the win.”
Although Kelly and Small did come out of the game shorthanded, it was all smiles out of the dugout after the game. This was their last time playing together, and with most of these players moving on to high school, it gave them an opportunity over these last few weeks to share some exciting moments together before the real competition begins when school resumes in the fall.
“I’ve known these guys for a long time,” Castaneda said. “It’s kind of sad that it has to end like this, but it happens. Moving on, we have a handful of kids going to different schools, with some maybe never playing baseball again. Playing in this tournament overall was a lot of fun, and it was nice to share these moments.”