Falcons spring back into form

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — At least in the case of the Pacific League front runners, there was no rust, there was no lack of focus.

No, from the first inning to the last, the Crescenta Valley High baseball team was at its best.

Twelve hits from 10 Falcons and four spotless innings from starter Travis Feldman added up to a resounding 16-0 five-inning, mercy-rule win on Tuesday evening against Glendale at Stengel Field.

“Glad to be off the break, getting back in the swing of things,” said Falcons shortstop Kris Kauppila, who had three walks, three runs and a two-run double.

Feldman had two hits and a run, but truly shined on the mound.

“Spring break helped a lot, [I] got some time off, my arm felt great,” said Feldman, who pitched four innings, allowed just one hit and no walks and struck out five. “We kept working [during the break] it’s not like we shut down everything.”

Both Crescenta Valley (14-4, 8-1 in league) and Glendale (4-13, 2-7) had gone more than a week without a game. But that had little, if anything, to do with Tuesday’s outcome.

“They just came out hitting the ball so well,” said Glendale Coach Jon Keefer of the Falcons. “[Feldman] shut us down. He got in a rhythm early and we couldn’t get him out of it.”

Feldman (7-1) retired the first 10 Nitros he faced before Robert Escobar beat out an infield single in the fourth. By that time, Crescenta Valley owned a 9-0 lead.

Kauppila, Matt Ashby and Lonnie Kauppila all scored in the first inning to make it 3-0.

“It’s kind of hard to dig yourself out of that and the wheels just came off after that,” Keefer said.

Lonnie Kauppila’s two-run triple down the third-base line keyed a four-run second that pushed the Falcons’ lead to 7-0.

“We’re swinging the bats real well, staying patient,” Feldman said. “It was a good outing.”

Two-RBI doubles by Andrew Pita and Drew Elliott highlighted a fourth that saw the Falcons score nine runs with 12 players going to the plate.

“Just the way everyone came in was fun to see,” Feldman said. “For it to pay off like it did was huge.”

Seven Falcons came off the bench and reached base, with five scoring runs.

Ashby had two hits, two runs and two RBI, while Lonnie Kauppila had two runs and two RBI. Clean-up hitter Joe Sedano had a pair of RBI groundouts and Zack Torres also scored twice.

“We take good [batting practice], that’s where it starts — the rest falls into place,” Kris Kauppila said.

Crescenta Valley also played flawless defense, highlighted by a game-ending 3-6-3 double play.

For Glendale, it never fell into place, as the Nitros committed three errors and dropped their fourth straight game.

“It was not our best game by far,” said Keefer, who got his team’s second hit from Michael Chico — a fifth-inning double.

The Falcons, who swept the season series with the Nitros, picked up their fourth consecutive win.

Heading into Tuesday’s game, Crescenta Valley owned a one-game lead over Burroughs and Arcadia. The Indians lost to Hoover, but the Apaches beat Pasadena.

“We’re doing well, but we’ve obviously still got things to work on,” Feldman said.

Crescenta Valley hosts Pasadena on Friday, while Glendale travels to face Burroughs.

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