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NSA tourney reignites rivalries
MARYSVILLE Recent Little League all-star alumni clashed in the NSA spring training doubleheader at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, May 29.
The U12 Stilly Valley Crusaders, who are made up in large numbers by the Stilly Valley all-star team that advanced to the Little League softball regional last summer, won both of their games in the third of five tournament matches.
The Crusaders defeated fellow U12ers Snohomish County Express in the early game 6-2 and held off a rally by an older Lake Breeze team to win 4-3.
Kristin Backstrom and Courtney Crossfield split pitching duties in game one against the Express.
At bat, Gigi Bertagni hit a two-RBI double to give the Crusaders their third and fourth runs. As a leadoff hitter later in the game, Bertagni also got in scoring position to contribute a run to the Stilly Valley tally.
In game two, Stilly Valley led 3-1 when Lake Breeze began its surge. With players on first and third, the Breeze tried to steal, said Barrio.
Crusader catcher Torrey Harrington fired the ball to shortstop Arianna Barrio, who then threw it back to home plate to catch the runner from third trying to steal home. Then Harrington threw to third baseman Bertagni, who got the runner who stole second trying to get a second bag.
"It was it a good defensive game," he said.
The double play allowed the Crusaders to hold off the Breeze and Kori Bowns scored the game-winning RBI.
Like Barrio's Crusaders, Bill Basher's U12 Express team is a young team playing up in the U14 tournament.
The Express was handed their first two losses out of six games in the tournament by familiar rivals the Crusaders in the first game and the older U14 Express team in game two.
Veronica Ladines, who pitched against the Crusaders for the Express, had all the team's RBI for the night, with a two-run triple in the fifth inning of the first game.
"We ran out of time in the sixth," Basher said, referring to the rule regulating the length of tournament games.
Lindsey Amundson pitched the girls' 10-0 loss to their elder sister team.
Though the girls are still young, the Express-Crusaders rivalry is a long one.
"In 2005, the 9/10 (Marysville) all-stars beat the Stilly Valley all-stars, went to districts and won state. In 2006, Stilly Valley beat us, went on to districts and won state," Basher said. "Those Stilly Valley kids have probably played us 100 times. It's always good spirit and good fun."
Other final scores from May 29: