Big first inning powers Falcons

LA CRESCENTA — There's something to be said about the Crescenta Valley High softball team's lineup — it doesn't waste any time getting started.

Putting up crooked numbers in the opening inning has practically become a staple for the Falcons, who proved it once again Thursday afternoon.

Crescenta Valley registered nine runs on 10 hits in the first en route to an 11-0 Pacific League home victory against Hoover. The game was called in the fifth because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Crescenta Valley (16-3, 8-1 in league) also swept the two-game season series against Hoover (7-10, 3-6). In the first meeting March 24 at Hoover, Crescenta Valley scored two first-inning runs in a 12-2 victory.

"I think we did a good job focusing in the first inning," said Crescenta Valley Coach Dan Berry, whose team finished with 14 hits. "The umpire seemed to like the outside corner and we had to make sure to solve that.

"We did that by hitting the ball hard all over the field. We had a lot of productive at-bats."

On Thursday, the Falcons, who entered the game trailing first-place Burroughs by one game with the teams set to meet Tuesday at Crescenta Valley, took a 1-0 lead when Hannah Cookson lined a triple over the right fielder's head that scored Erin Ashby, who led off with a single.

Things didn't get better for the Tornadoes. Sydney House made it 2-0 with a run-scoring double and scored on a throwing error by the pitcher on a tap back to the circle to extend the lead to 3-0.

With two runners on, Delaney Gay hit a home run to left to make it 6-0.

It was Gay's first career home run, one she didn't think would leave the venue.

"I thought [the left fielder] would catch it," Gay said. "I rounded first with my head down and then I heard it was a home run.

"It felt real good to hit my first home run because I'm not one with a lot of power. We want to go out there and have big first innings."

Allison Lacey, who finished with three hits, doubled in a run to make it 7-0 before Cookson capped the scoring barrage with a two-run single to raise the advantage to 9-0.

Hoover Coach Rich Henning said the Tornadoes weren't ready to compete.

"We came out extremely flat in that first inning and they took advantage of that ball not being caught [by the right fielder on the triple]," Henning said. "Then we had the throwing error [by the pitcher] and that prolonged the inning.

"All of that took us out of the game, plus, when you put the ball in play, it puts the defense on notice."

Jessica Morena had a RBI single in the third to make it 10-0. Ashby had a run-scoring single in the fourth to complete the scoring.

Ashby struck out five in three innings to pick up the victory.

Hoover had a hit each from Briana Manzanero and Teresa Martinez.

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