Falcons roll to victory

BURBANK — There was nothing pretty about Friday afternoon's Pacific League baseball tilt between Crescenta Valley High and host Burroughs.

Whether it was controversial umpiring, bad intentions or the lopsided score, it got a little ugly, as the Falcons stormed past the Indians, 16-3, in a six-inning game ended early due to the mercy rule.

Crescenta Valley pounded out 17 hits en route to its fourth straight victory. Indeed, hitting was contagious for the reigning league champs, as 12 Falcons tallied hits.

“That's exactly what it was today, everybody feeds off each other's energy,” said Falcons shortstop Kris Kauppila, who went two for two with three walks, four runs, five runs batted in and a fifth-inning grand slam that blew the game wide open.

While Crescenta Valley (4-3, 3-0 in league) continued with its recent winning ways, Burroughs (2-6, 1-2) continued its struggles.

“We just gotta get better,” said Burroughs Coach Tom Crowther, whose team was limited to six hits. “I know we're better than we're playing. We can still right the ship.”

On Friday, it went from bad to worse.

The Falcons got a run in the first via Kauppila on a Joe Sedano single, before Daniel Park skied head first into home plate. The umpire made a safe call, but Park was tagged out on his way into the dugout. The umpire ruled Park hadn't touched the plate, but Falcons Coach Phil Torres argued that there shouldn't have been a safe call if Park hadn't touched the plate or been tagged out.

Balls and strikes, particularly by the Burroughs faithful, were called into question throughout the game, as well.

The Indians evened the score in their half of the first when Nick Bozeman doubled in Ray Palafox. It was hardly a foreshadowing of things to come, though.

Matt Ashby, who went four for four with three runs, doubled in Travis Feldman for a 2-1 lead in the second that the Falcons would never relinquish.

Feldman went two for three and also turned in a fine outing on the mound.

“Travis is getting better as the season goes along,” Ashby said.

Feldman improved to 2-1 on the season, pitching five innings, giving up just one earned run, four hits and striking out five.

With Crescenta Valley up, 5-2, after Palafox's home run to center in the fourth, the Indians looked to have momentum going their way. That was before a baserunner was picked off and another was doubled up at first after a foul out to left field.

Kauppila swung the game in the Falcons' favor for good with his shot in the fifth that made it 10-2. The Indians thought he showboated a bit after the homer and the ensuing pitch went over Park's head, drawing a warning from the ump.

It didn't stop the Falcons offense, as Lonnie Kauppila, who had three walks, belted a solo shot to make it 11-2.

Two-run singles by Matt McKenzie and Brandt Bowers bolstered the lead in the sixth.

For the Falcons, Park also had two hits, Sedano had two walks and two RBI and Zack Torres had two hits.

After an 0-3 start, the Falcons look for their fifth win in a row on Tuesday at Pasadena.

“Now we're coming together as a team,” Ashby said. “I think we just came out here to play and that's what helped us.”

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