NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Crescenta Valley High junior pitcher Kyle Murray had a simple explanation when describing his recent track record.
"I try to go out there and win every pitch," Murray said after he struck out 14 on Tuesday night in Crescenta Valley's 9-0 win against North Torrance in a National Division contest of the 45th rendition of the Babe Herman Tournament at Stengel Field. "I can throw two real good pitches with my curveball and slider.
"I just have to keep putting in the work."
Murray (4-0) tossed a two-hitter in a complete-game performance and helped the Falcons win their 12th game in a row. Crescenta Valley (12-1) will meet West Torrance in the tournament's championship contest at 7 p.m. today.
It marked the second straight excellent start for Murray, who struck out a career-high 15 in Crescenta Valley's 3-1 Pacific League road victory against Burbank on March 29. Murray, a right-hander, continued to pound the inside and outside corners effectively against North Torrance (6-9).
"He's pitched phenomenally," said Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres, whose team will look to win the tournament for the first time since 2005. "He kept getting his second pitch over in throwing the breaking ball for strikes.
"He had a great summer. Sometimes I tell him to slow things down and just throw what you got, but he's such a great competitor."
Murray struck out the side in the second despite allowing a lead-off single and a walk. He struck out at least two in each inning.
Crescenta Valley broke through against North Torrance starting pitcher Dalton Erb in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Terry Ha singled and stole second base. Ha then came around on a single by Cole Currie to make it 1-0.
The Falcons, who finished with 15 hits and have 39 in three tournament games, scored three runs in the sixth to make it 4-0. Elliot Surrey drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right to extend the lead to 2-0 and Troy Mulcahey hit a two-run double to left to make it 4-0.
Crescenta Valley, which has won the tournament seven times since it began in 1964, got a lead-off home run to left by Murray in the sixth to extend the lead to 5-0. Bogart Avila drove in a run with a single to make it 6-0. Surrey contributed a run-scoring single to raise the lead to 7-0 before Mulcahey (three hits, four RBIs) came through with a two-run single to close out the scoring. Troy Prasertsit had three hits and Ted Boeke had two hits, as did Avila and Murray.
"We are on a roll right now," said Murray, who finished with two hits.
The Falcons, ranked No. 8 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division II poll, opened the tournament Saturday with a 5-4 win against Santa Monica. Murray got the win in relief in that game for the Falcons, who then responded with a 15-2 victory against Oak Park on Monday.
Torres said Mulcahey will pitch tonight's game.