The last time Scott Vinceri got a start on the mound for the Crescenta Valley High baseball team was three seasons ago when he was a freshman.
With the Falcons featuring two accomplished starters, Vinceri has seen his share of action as closer.
In a Pacific League game Tuesday evening against Burbank, the senior got a rare start and came through with a fine performance. Vinceri threw a two-hitter to lead Crescenta Valley to a 3-1 victory at Stengel Field.
"I really shouldn't have had to worry about Scott," said Falcons Coach Phil Torres, whose team has won 16 straight. "We're talking about starting a 12th-grader who is on his way to college and who is going to pitch next year. So, he should be able to handle the situation.
"He's pitched quite a bit this season, but that was his first start. We've contemplated about doing it, but it was really hard to pull the trigger because he is so good at coming in and closing the door. It's something we decided to do and it paid off."
Vinceri went seven innings, allowing just the two hits while striking out seven and walking one. The Crescenta Valley defense struggled behind him, though, committing six errors.
"This being my first start since freshman year, it was kind of fun to go out there and start a game," Vinceri said. "I just took the same approach as I always do when I pitch, which is try and throw strikes.
"I was just happy that we were able to make plays at the end when it counted."
Crescenta Valley (18-1, 6-0 in league), which remains in first place in league, scored the first run of the game in the first inning. Max Meyer struck out, but the third strike was dropped and ended up at second base after a Falcons base runner was thrown out at third on the play. Meyer advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on an infield error.
Burbank (9-4, 5-2) evened the score at 1 with a run in the fourth on an error that was one of four in the frame by the Falcons.
Crescenta Valley pushed across the winning run in the fifth inning when Kewin Ledesma (two for three with a walk) singled to right field and was plated by a base hit to left by Anthony Russo.
The Falcons made it 3-1 when Nico Arredondo singled in the sixth and scored on a base hit by Will Rees (two for three).
The Bulldogs received a solid start from pitcher Matt Lungaro, who went the distance, allowed eight hits, struck out three and walked four.
"I was pleased with the way that we played," Burbank Coach Bob Hart said. "I thought we played clean baseball and our pitching was solid. I feel like we represented pretty well."