GLENDALE — Crescenta Valley High’s Brian Gadsby turned in a pitching performance that, in hindsight, didn’t need much run support.
The Falcons offense gave it to him anyway and, coupled with six errors from the La Cañada defense, the defending Pacific League co-champions cruised to a 19-0 season-opening victory on Tuesday evening at Stengel Field.
Gadsby, a junior and Crescenta Valley’s No. 1 starter this season, struck out 10 batters and gave up two hits while also walking two batters in six strong innings for the Falcons, who will look to him to lead the rotation.
“He’s our ace, there’s no question,” Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres said. “He’s been really good in January and February and we know he’ll compete all season. We’ll need to find some pitchers to go along with him.”
The meeting between the teams was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, but was delayed due to rain. It marked he second consecutive year they have faced each other in the season opener, with La Cañada winning in 2013, 6-3.
“It’s always nice to start the season with a win,” said Torres, who coached the Falcons to a 20-8 record last year, including a 12-2 Pacific League campaign. “No fun starting with a loss like last year. We were able to get some guys who work hard at-bats and that’s not always going to be there.”
Crescenta Valley’s offense compiled 13 hits — four in a second inning that saw the Falcons get on the scoreboard with five runs that proved to be more than enough for Gadsby and the Falcons defense behind him. Brett Klein led off the inning with a single and eventually scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch with Bryan Wang at the plate
Bryan Wang’s single allowed Ryan Lynch to score and a throwing error at first base plated Nick Diaz to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead. Wang advanced to second on the error and was picked up by a double off the bat of Kewin Ledesma, who was temporarily pulled for Kevin Hello, a pinch runner. Hello scored on the inning’s second wild pitch before Lewis was able to stop the bleeding and get out of the inning.
The Falcons added two runs in the fifth, highlighted by triples from Klein and Michael Russo, who led off the inning. Both scored — Russo on a passed ball and then an RBI single from Lynch with two out to score Klein — and give Crescenta Valley a 7-0 advantage.
Gadsby didn’t allow a runner in scoring position until the sixth inning, which would be his last, as Wang closed out the game in the seventh.
“We were a lot more amped up [than the preseason],” Gadsby said. “We all gave it 100%,and played pretty darn well. The two errors was the only bad part, but no runs came from them.
“It’s easy to pitch when you’ve got 19 runs.”
Wang’s task on the mound wasn’t daunting, especially after the Falcons scored 12 runs in the sixth inning to give him 19 runs to work with. Crescenta Valley sprayed five hits in the inning and sent 18 batters to the plate, while the Spartans continued to hurt themselves with fielding mishaps and errors to the tune of four unearned runs in the sixth.
“We need to focus and pay attention to detail,” said Spartans second-year Coach Alex Valadez, who guided the team to a Rio Hondo League championship and the program’s first postseason win since 2009 in his first year at the helm. “Those are key. If we stay in the game, and make the plays at us, we’re going to be fine.
With Gadsby to blame, the offense just wasn’t there for La Cañada in the season opener, either.
“He was consistent,” Valadez said. “He pitched well and he came after us. We were sluggish, obviously, but he kept the ball down, pitched in the zone and our hats off to him.”
Wang, Russo, Klein, Lynch and Chase Walker each finished with a multi-hit game for the Falcons, who will not play at home again until March 15 when they host the Babe Herman Tournament.