LA CRESCENTA — Good fortune came swiftly for the second-seeded Crescenta Valley High softball in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs.
Freshman pitching standout Dee Dee Hernandez needed just three pitches to retire the side in the top of the first inning and the Falcons' lineup responded with three runs in the bottom of the stanza.
It was just the beginning of a Falcons' scoring parade as they plated six runs in each of the next two innings en route to a dominant 15-1 five-inning victory over Knight on Thursday afternoon at Crescenta Valley High.
"I was pumped right when I got on the mound and I just felt really confident with my team behind me," said Hernandez, who allowed one run, three hits and a walk with three strikeouts over five innings and added three hits and four runs batted in. "We stay at a steady pace. We came in strong and we stayed strong."
Crescenta Valley (25-2), which won its second straight Pacific League title, has won six straight as it advanced to the second round for the second season in a row. Following the elimination of Knight (13-11), which finished third in the Golden League, Crescenta Valley will travel to El Modena, which defeated San Luis Obispo in the first round, on Tuesday.
Crescenta Valley got production throughout the lineup as all nine starters tallied hits or runs batted in as it overwhelmed Knight from the start, ending the game with 16 hits against three Hawks pitchers.
"It's been happening all season for us," Falcons coach Amanda Peek said of the lineup producing from top to bottom. "It doesn't matter if it's our one-hitter or nine-hitter."
Sophomore Maddie De Leon had two hits, three RBI, two runs and a walk, junior Alyssa Hernandez tallied two hits, three runs, an RBI and a walk, sophomore Natalie Bittetti had three hits and three runs, junior Peyton Hause notched two hits, two RBI and two runs, freshman Stephanie Wichman collected two hits, a run and a walk and sophomore Kat Thamasian, who courtesy runs for Hernandez, scored three times.
After Hernandez's three-pitch first, the CV bats and Knight gloves combined for three runs and two errors to add up to the Falcons' 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Dee Dee Hernandez delivered a bases-loaded double to score Morgan Eng and Alyssa Hernandez for a 5-0 lead. A De Leon single scored Bitetti and Thamasian thereafter and Hause doubled in De Leon. The six-run stanza saw its final score when Hause came home on a groundout by Kristy Taix.
In the third, any doubt of the game's outcome was concluded when Wichman, Eng, Alyssa Hernandez, Bitetti and Dee Dee Hernandez singled consecutively to start the inning as the Falcons' lead soared to 12-0. A walk to De Leon followed, Hause singled in Thamasian and Emily Mulcahey's sacrifice fly to score De Leon brought it to 14-0 before Devon Medina brought home the final run for the home team with a single to right to plate Hause.
Dee Dee Hernandez was perfect through three innings, starting the game with 12 straight strikes thrown before a ball to the leadoff hitter in the third. In the fourth, she allowed three straight hits and a run, but it made no matter.
"We come out there and the girls just stay on this level. They're not up or down and they're having fun out there," Peek said. "It's the third part of the season. It's who's gonna be mentally tough.
"Our girls just stayed focused."