LANCASTER — A quick three-run lead was exactly what the members of the Crescenta Valley Major Baseball All-Star team wanted.
Unfortunately for Crescenta Valley, it couldn't enjoy the advantage for too long.
Crescenta Valley surrendered four home runs and suffered a 15-4 loss against host Quartz Hill in the Section 2 championship contest at El Dorado Park on Tuesday night. The game was called in the fourth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The teams will meet in the tournament's if-necessary championship game at 8 p.m. today at the same venue. The winner will advance to the Division III North Tournament at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ladera Little League Fields in Los Angeles.
"We have to put it behind us and take care of business [Wednesday]," said Crescenta Valley Coach Mike Vinceri, whose team began the tournament Saturday with a 16-5 win against Encino before posting a 9-4 victory against Quartz Hill on Sunday. "[Crescenta Valley starting pitcher] Matt [Brunner] was pitching well throughout [the season] for us up until tonight, but he just didn't have it.
"I think we will be fine and our kids are battle tested. I'm very confident in our squad."
Crescenta Valley, the District 16 champion, took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
Brian Erickson led off with a single and advanced to second when Michael Choi walked with one out. Jett Costibolo then homered to center field.
Quartz Hill, which won the District 51 championship, flexed its muscles in the bottom of the first with three home runs in a row.
Quartz Hill cut the deficit to 3-1 on a solo home run by Tyler Vargas. Elijah Gates then made it 3-2 and Alex DeShields tied it at 3.
Quartz Hill took a 5-3 lead on a run-scoring single by Jared Llanos to score Jared Stephens. The ball skipped under the glove of the right fielder to allow Ricky Martin to score.
Connor Levenson then singled to drive in Llanos to extend Quartz Hill's lead to 6-3. Levenson scored on an error by the shortstop to make it 7-3.
Mike Marshall scored on a single to left by Gates to make it 8-3.
Crescenta Valley committed four errors and used three pitchers in the frame, which lasted 40 minutes.
Quartz Hill took a 9-3 lead in the second on a run-scoring single by Llanos.
Gates recorded his third hit of the game, a run-scoring double to make it 10-3.
Crescenta Valley sliced the lead to 10-4 on a lead-off home run by Jaimy Blank in the fourth.
Quartz Hill made it 11-4 on a run-scoring ground out by Randy Clemons in the fourth. Gates hit a grand slam in the fourth to complete the scoring.