NORTHEAST GLENDALE â€” Nearly a full month into the season, the Crescenta Valley High baseball team trotted onto its home field for the first time Saturday afternoon to host San Marcos of Santa Barbara in a nonleague doubleheader.
And as it turns out, the wait to play in the friendly confines of Stengel Field proved to be well worth it for the Falcons.
Crescenta Valley used superb pitching early and an offensive onslaught late to pull out a sweep, stretching its win streak to seven games and spoiling the return of Royals Coach Victor Ramirez, a Crescenta Valley grad, in the process.
Falcons senior pitcher Travis Feldman went the distance to carry the Falcons to a 3-1 victory in the first game, before the offense slugged 16 hits in a 14-3 rout of the Royals in the second game.
â€œIt was nice for these guys to finally play at home,â€ said Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres, whose team improved to 7-3 on the season. â€œIt was an opportunity to get some guys some at-bats and some innings that have been working hard in practice, but just haven't had a chance to play in a game.â€
The Falcons sure got everyone in on the act in the second game, as 11 players delivered hits and seven collected runs batted in.
Crescenta Valley held a slim 1-0 lead until it tacked on three runs in the third and two more in the fifth for a 6-0 bulge.
That's when things got ugly quick for San Marcos (5-10).
The Falcons pounded eight hits and eight runs in the bottom of the sixth, punctuated by a two-run Kris Kauppila home run to left field, to grab a 14-0 lead and never look back.
Lonnie Kauppila, Joe Sedano, Nick Antista, Nathan Honda and Kris Kauppila all finished the game with two hits. Brent Bowers, Honda and Kris Kauppila each knocked in two runs.
For Sedano and the Falcons, the doubleheader was a welcome break from grueling Pacific League play.
â€œI think it's beneficial,â€ Sedano said. â€œIt's a nice little [break] to relax. You don't have to worry about league.â€
While the Falcons offense put up the gaudy numbers, it was the Falcons' pitching that continued to impress with low numbers.
After dropping its first three games to open the season in the Glendora Tournament, the Crescenta Valley staff hasn't yielded more than three runs in a game since and the trend continued Saturday.
â€œSince that first tournament, I think our pitching's gotten better and better and we thought it would the more we played,â€ Torres said. â€œThat's a positive to take away from the last couple times out.â€
Following Feldman's gem, Jacob Hoogenhuizen and Sean Elliott combined to toss six shutout innings in the second game before San Marcos, which has dropped six straight, tacked on three meaningless runs in the seventh.
The three runs allowed by Crescenta Valley snapped a stretch of 20 innings where it had surrendered just one run.
The recent proficient outings on the mound have provided the Falcons' offense with even more motivation to produce.
â€œIt makes us want to work for them because we know they are going to be there for us,â€ Sedano said. â€œWe have to help them.â€
Kris Kauppila was the offensive star for Crescenta Valley in the first game, belting three hits, including two doubles, to give Feldman valuable support.
The Falcons won't have to wait another month before they hit the diamond at Stengel Field, as they jump right back into Pacific League action to host Muir at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
â€œWe've just got to keep playing like we are playing,â€ Sedano said. â€œTuesday we play Muir here, so that should be fun. Hoover and Arcadia should be tough games [upcoming], but we're looking forward to it.â€