Falcons squeak past Burbank

After a 0-0 score through six innings, it was the seventh (and usually final) inning that the game really started. Crescenta Valley's Kali Cancelosi had started the game and thrown a shutout through six, but with nothing to show for it; her counterpart, Burbank's Kristin Peraza, had thrown six shutout innings as well and with seven strikeouts.

The stands were full, the crowd was raucus — in that pleasant, Burbank kind of way.

The people making the most noise, though, were the ones in the dugouts, specifically the Burbank players, who made chatter any time Cancelosi had given up so much as a weak infield ground ball.

Cancelosi had seen some pretty tough at-bats. In the third inning, she gave up a two-out single. The runner proceeded to second on a wild pitch and, just when it looked like Cancelosi might cede a walk to Burbank's Kristina Ortiz, Cancelosi got her swinging to end the inning.

Though Cancelosi got herself into a few jams, she pitched herself out of every one of them.

Peraza, on the other hand, had barely given up anything more than a single and showed almost no weaknesses while on the mound.

It didn't look like the game was ending any time soon, and even CV's seventh inning lead-off batter, Baillie Kirker, felt the game wasn't going to finish.

“I thought this was going into extra-innings,” Kirker said. “I thought we were going to keep battling it out. Their defense was tight and our defense was tight and the pitchers were making their pitches.”

Kirker stepped up to the plate in the top of the seventh and ripped a double off the left field fence.

Cancelosi was up next and hit a groundball to shortstop, but an error on the scoop by first baseman Ortiz allowed her to reach base safely.

The Falcons had runners on first and third with no outs and Caitlyn Cox at the plate.

With her teammates screaming and chattering nonstop in the dugout, supporting her, Cox grounded out to shortstop and Kirker dashed for home to score the only run of the game.

Peraza then struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

“This game definitely could have gone into extra innings,” Kirker added, “but I'm glad it didn't.”

The inning was grossly unfair for Peraza, who forced two ground outs and got two strikeouts, but still gave up an unearned run. She finished the game with nine strikeouts, four hits and no earned runs.

Burbank's (18-2, 9-2 in league) two losses on the season both came from CV, the other one was a 5-2 loss.

“I got a lot of respect for Burbank,” Falcons Coach Dan Berry said, after the game. “It's hard to play on somebody else's field and play a very good team and then come out [with a] win.”

Burbank didn't let CV get away that easily, nearly coming back in the bottom of the seventh.

Bulldogs Megan and Brianne Schafer hit deep fly balls to center that centerfielder Stephanie Ziemann was able to chase and catch.

Coach Berry thanked Ziemann's parents for blessing her with the speed to run down the fly balls.

Crescenta Valley (23-0, 11-0) now has to face Muir at Muir and Hoover and Arcadia at home to finish their season.

The Falcons have beaten all three teams earlier this year, by the scores of 24-0, 18-1 and 7-3, respectively.

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