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Grimm pitches Crescenta Valley baseball to outright league title

GLENDALE — Once Will Grimm recorded the final out with a strikeout to complete a masterful performance, a dogpile quickly ensued in front of the pitcher's mound.

The Crescenta Valley High sophomore pitcher was happy to be mobbed by his teammates in the best effort of his young Falcons tenure.

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Grimm struck out six and scattered three hits in a shutout to lift Crescenta Valley to a 2-0 Pacific League win against rival Arcadia and an outright league championship in front of a packed house at Stengel Field.

"You feel great pitching in front of a big crowd like that and it's even better when you can celebrate like that with your teammates," Grimm said. "I had my pitches working and got some great defense behind me.

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"We wanted to go out there and play a great game and win league on our own. I knew what I needed to do and it's my best effort this season."

Crescenta Valley (23-4, 14-0 in league) beat Arcadia (23-2, 12-2) for the second time in four days. The Falcons clinched a share of the league title Tuesday with a 2-1 win at Arcadia, which was ranked No. 1 in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times and in CIF Southern Section Division III, fourth in the state by CalHi Sports and No. 10 in the nation by Baseball America.

The rankings hardly seemed to intimidate the Falcons, who have won three straight league championships and are No. 6 in Division II.

"We knew coming in that our pitchers would give us a chance and they sure did," Crescenta Valley junior catcher Brian Ghattas said. "Trevor Beer did it the other day and Will came out and gave it his all.

"With Will, the more outs he got, the more confident he got. He got ahead in the count a lot."

Grimm escaped a couple of jams in the fast-paced contest. With runners on first and third with one out, Grimm got a 6-3 double play to end the fourth. In the fifth, Arcadia had runners on second and third with one out before Grimm ended the threat by getting two strikeouts.

Arcadia starting pitcher Chris Wilson was also impressive in a hard-luck defeat. The right-hander went five innings and faced one batter in the sixth, yielding two runs on three hits.

Crescenta Valley finally solved Wilson in the fifth. Lorenzo Respicio opened with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cody Cancelosi. Isaac Sung walked before Grimm hit a grounder in the hole to the second baseman, who made an outstanding play to get the force out at second. However, the shortstop threw the ball wildly past first to allow Respicio to score to make it 1-0.

Crescenta Valley scored again in the sixth. Beer led off with a walk and scored on a double to right center field by Brian Erickson, who was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple.

"It was another great game and Arcadia won all of those games for a reason," Falcons coach Phil Torres said. "Both teams played great defense in the two games and our pitching did the job.

"Will was outstanding and he got out of those jams. Nobody was panicking. It's great to win league and win it outright. We'll enjoy it now."

The CIF playoff pairings will be unveiled at 10 a.m. Monday.

Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich

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