PASADENA — Four days removed and still stinging from a bitter Pacific League loss to archrival Arcadia, Crescenta Valley High's baseball team's second-place showdown with Pasadena proved just as significant for the Falcons in the standings as it was in terms of rebounding and moving forward.
Atop the list of Falcons looking to do just that was Elliott Surrey, who got the start on the mound Tuesday after he was on the bump Friday when Arcadia scored its last two runs.
"I felt like I let the team down," Surrey said.
But on Tuesday, Surrey led an effort in pulling the Falcons back up, as the junior left-hander twirled a one-hit shutout bolstered by a quick offensive start en route to a key 6-0 league win for the Falcons over the host Bulldogs.
"This was a good bounceback game," said Surrey, who struck out 10 over seven innings, walked none and allowed just one hit on an infield single. "[We want to] try and get on a roll again.
"We know we're better than we played on Friday."
On Friday, the Falcons (15-3, 5-1) were held to four hits, while three CV pitchers allowed 10 and had runners on throughout the 4-2 loss.
On Tuesday against the Bulldogs (12-6-1, 4-2 in league), things changed drastically and in a hurry, as Troy Mulcahey, who would later belt his eighth home run of the season, doubled to left field to score Surrey before coming home to score on an ensuing single by Troy Prasertsit, who had a pair of singles. The two-run first inning ignited the Falcons, who never looked back.
"Coach [Phil Torres] told us this is gonna be the game-changer. We needed to show Arcadia and everyone that we're not out of it," said Mulcahey, who went two for three with a pair of runs, a pair of runs driven in, was hit by a pitch and belted a solo shot in the sixth inning. "Once we saw that we could get back to hitting, we relaxed so much more."
Surrey, who walked twice, singled, scored a run, drove one in and stole a base, drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk to score Cam Silva, who had singled with two outs, to up the lead to 3-0 in the second inning. It was the first of three unearned runs for the Falcons, who made good use of three Pasadena errors.
Cole Currie drove in Tyler Pollak in the fifth for a 4-0 lead before a Surrey single pushed Currie to third before he scored on a subsequent error.
But it was the two-run burst in the opening inning that gave Surrey what he needed.
"As a pitcher, getting a run is big when your offense is struggling," Surrey said. "I felt comfortable. When I get runs and ahead in the count, I just get comfortable out there."
Surrey was comfortable and quick throughout, economically throwing just 80 pitches as he pounded the strike zone and rarely wasted time on the mound.
"I try to just stay in a rhythm," Surrey said. "It keeps me thinking and it keeps them off-balance."
Surrey retired the first eight batters he faced before Pasadena's Drew Klein dribbled a shot up the middle that shortstop Currie came just short of snaring. Surrey then proceeded to retire the last 13 batters he faced. He struck out the side in the fourth on 12 pitches and retired the side in the sixth in eight pitches and capped off the game with a five-pitch seventh.
"He's a dominating pitcher," Mulcahey said. "He pumps strikes all day. He's always in the zone."
Having won 14 games in a row at one point before dropping two in a row, Surrey, Mulcahey and Co. are hoping the well-played victory catapults them back into the swing of things.
"We were telling ourselves that, 'OK, we stopped our streak of winning,'" Mulcahey said, "'now let's start a new one."