NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Behind a stellar offensive performance from its No. 3 hitter, Crescenta Valley Tile finds itself back in the hunt for the La Crescenta Babe Ruth Division 13-15 championship.
When Crescenta Valley needed its slugger to come through, Jimmy Smiled delivered with power.
Smiley finished with two hits, including a two-run home run, to spark Tile to a 5-1 victory against Trotta on Monday night at Stengel Field. Crescenta Valley (16-7-1) and Trotta (19-2) will meet in the tournament's if-necessary championship contest at 6:30 p.m. today at Stengel Field.
"We scored early and it was a good morale boost for the team," said Smiley, who had a run-scoring double in the top of the first inning and a two-run home run in the fifth. "Now, we have to come back and do it all over again because it will be another good game."
Crescenta Valley also got strong a starting effort on the mound from Smiley, who limited Trotta to a pair of hits in four innings. Relievers Kirk McCreary and Brian Gadsby combined to go the final three innings with Gadsby picking off a runner at first in the sixth and seventh.
Crescenta Valley Coach Jim Smiley said it was important for Tile to score early and find a way to neutralize Trotta's offense.
"It was nice to score in those first two innings," the elder Smiley said. "Trotta is good and they are still in the driver's seat.
"We had some guys who were willing to go out there and execute. We had some guys who were willing to do different things."
Crescenta Valley, which has handed Trotta both of its defeats this season, opened the scoring in the first. Gadsby led off with a single against Trotta starting pitcher Matthew McElligott and stole second. With one out, Smiley doubled off the left fielder's glove to make it 1-0.
In the second, Will Smiley led off with a single and reached third on a stolen base before scoring on a fielder's choice to second to extend the advantage to 2-0.
Jimmy Smiley then hit a two-run line-drive home run to left, giving Crescenta Valley a 4-0 lead.
"I got a good pitch to hit and got a hold of it," he said.
Trotta sliced the deficit to 4-1 in the fifth on a grounder by Eric Ma that scored Johnny Alvarado, who had opened with a single and reached third on an error by the second baseman.
Crescenta Valley closed out the scoring in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Chris Prah that scored Jimmy Smiley.
Trotta Coach Tim McElligot said his team has a chance to regroup.
"We have to play our brand of ball and not make any mistakes," McElligot said. "We have to erase this game and I expect a tight battle.
"Matthew turned in his best pitching effort, but we gave him no offensive support."
Trotta got two hits from the younger McElligot and Alvarado and one from Orlando Diez.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun