LA CRESCENTA — There’s some ground that the members of the Crescenta Valley High softball team will look to make up in their quest to win a fourth Pacific League championship in a row.
The Falcons went undefeated in league the last two seasons, but have since lost some key players to graduation and are now battling in a league that’s a bit more even compared to recent campaigns.
Crescenta Valley pulled into a tie for third place with Arcadia, as Erin Ashby finished with four hits and Nicole Salas had a key single to propel host Crescenta Valley to a 7-1 victory against Arcadia on Thursday afternoon.
Crescenta Valley (7-6 and 3-2 in league) scored six runs in the fourth inning to dispatch the Apaches (6-7, 3-2). The Falcons and Apaches trail Burroughs (5-0 in league) and Burbank (4-1).
“There’s still a second half [of league] to play,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Dan Berry, whose team finished with 12 hits. “We are still in it.
“We started to be aggressive and we put on a lot of hit-and-run plays. As long as you stay aggressive, you will always have a chance.”
After Arcadia took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a single by Sam Miller against Ashby (4-3), the Falcons regrouped. It started with Ashby getting out of a first-and-second jam with no outs.
Crescenta Valley knotted the game at 1 on a sacrifice fly by Allison Lacy that scored Kelly Bako, who opened the third inning with a single.
The Falcons opened things up with a big fourth, which featured seven hits. Salas delivered a two-run single with two strikes that scored Cecelia Martinez and Sydney House to make it 3-1.
Salas, a left fielder, said she planned to swing at anything close to the plate.
“I was kind of a little bit nervous,” Salas said. “With two strikes, it’s do or die.
“We were able to pull together [in the inning]. That’s when we start to play better.”
Crescenta Valley didn’t stop there.
The Falcons extended the lead to 4-1 on a fielder’s choice before Ashby looped a two-run triple down the right-field line to make it 6-1. Another sacrifice fly by Lacy completed the scoring.
Ashby had singles in the first, third and sixth innings. The Falcons received two hits apiece from Martinez and Bako.
Crescenta Valley and Arcadia will next meet at 3:30 p.m. May 13 at Arcadia. Berry said he’s expecting a difficult battle on the final day of the regular season.
“It’s always going to be a rivalry with Arcadia, no matter what sport it is,” said Berry, whose team advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinals last season. “When you go over to Arcadia, it’s just going to be that much tougher.”