GLENDALE — With two weeks left in the regular season, the members of the Crescenta Valley High baseball team like their chances to win the Pacific League championship again.
With Austin Brines on board and providing a steady bat in the heart of the Falcons’ lineup, it’s a big reason why they are in a good position.
Brines drove in three runs to power Crescenta Valley to an 11-0 home victory against Glendale on Friday in a Pacific League game called in the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Crescenta Valley improved to 15-7-1, 8-1-1 to remain tied atop the league with Arcadia. Glendale fell to 7-13-1, 4-6.
“It’s pretty exciting right now to play the games and try to achieve the goal of winning league,” said Brines, a left-fielder. “We know we have to be in position to control our own fate.
“This was a big win for us tonight. We came out swinging and we hit the ball hard.”
Crescenta Valley scored five runs in the first inning, three in the third and three in the fourth. The Falcons, who improved to 8-0-1 in their last nine games, finished off the two-game season series sweep of the Nitros. Crescenta Valley posted a 4-0 road win April 8.
Crescenta Valley starting pitcher Jimmy Smiley and reliever Joe Torres limited the Nitros to one hit. The duo combined to strike out six.
“We just want to go out there and keep the flow going,” said Smiley, a right-hander who struck out four and allowed one hit in four innings.
“I hit a couple of batters, but my defense played great behind me to help me out.”
Unfortunately for Glendale, its defense struggled. The Nitros made three errors.
Brines gave Crescenta Valley a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to center in the first. The center fielder dropped the ball, keeping the bases loaded. Brett Klein followed with a two-run single to extend the lead to 3-0. Torres then hit into a fielder’s choice to second when the infielder threw the ball wildly past the catcher to allow two runs to score to make it 5-0.
In the third, Kewin Ledesma made it 6-0 with a run-scoring single and Brines then had a two-run double to pad the lead to 8-0.
Glendale’s lone hit came in the third, an infield single to second by Jacob Funaro.
Crescenta Valley, which shared the league title with Burbank last season, finished with nine hits and drew the praise of Glendale first-year Coach Alan Eberhart.
“CV is a lot better than us,” said Eberhart, whose team is tied for fourth in league with Burroughs, Burbank and Hoover. “They have a well-prepared and coached team.
“They went out there and did everything you’d want a team to do. It’s been a learning experience for us and we are getting better. We have two weeks left [in the regular season] with something to play for and that’s a playoff spot.”
The top four finishers in league automatically qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich.