Mulcahey anchored CV with dual prowess

In order to contend for a Pacific League title and clinch a playoff berth in 2011, the Crescenta Valley High baseball team needed a big bat in the middle of its lineup and a showstopper on the mound.

As it turned out, the Falcons benefited from more than one player heeding the call and stepping up with a big season offensively or on the pitching rubber, sometimes even both. But when it came to getting the best of the two in one package, Troy Mulcahey stood out as the team's quintessential one-man wrecking crew.

"He always came through in the clutch when we needed him, he was just always there for us," teammate Elliott Surrey says of the junior pitcher/outfielder. "He was just big for us this year."

The flamethrower in the Falcons' three-pronged pitching arsenal that included Surrey and Kyle Murray, Mulcahey (4-2) overpowered the opposition en route to compiling a 1.21 earned-run average with 50 strikeouts.

"He had a great year and it's just putting everything together from opening pitch until the final pitch of the game," Falcons Coach Phil Torres says. "He can be one of the dominating players in the Southern Section."

Just as opposing hitters routinely left the batter's box shaking their heads, Mulcahey had opposing pitchers shaking in their cleats and choosing their spots carefully. His prodigious power manifested itself this season in a program-record nine home runs, which eclipsed the mark set by current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prospect Trevor Bell in 2005.

"He had a big year [at the plate]," Surrey says. "He was seeing pitches and he was hitting them hard, everywhere, all over the yard."

Mulcahey's combination of offensive and defensive achievements was as deep and varied as any in the area this season, a dual prowess that earned him the honor of being named 2011 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year, as voted on by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun.

"I just tried to stay above the .400 mark hitting and help the team out with my runs batted in and scoring," Mulcahey says. "I was extremely happy [with my pitching]. I just try to keep the ball down and get ground balls and the defense helped me out so much this year. I had a great year pitching.

"Those are my goals and I felt that I met them pretty well."

An All-CIF Southern Section and All-Pacific League first-team pick by season's end, Mulcahey finished with a team-leading .425 batting average and a team-high 25 runs batted in. His first seven home runs came during a torrid stretch that saw the Falcons (23-5) reel off 14 straight wins after dropping their season opener, 3-2, to Claremont.

"He's got a lot of energy, so when he did well, we did well," Murray says.

Says Torres:" The first half of the season, he was pretty dominant with the bat. Everything he hit was for extra bases right up to the Babe Herman Tournament."

Crescenta Valley concluded the streak with an unbeaten run through the Babe Herman Tournament, culminating with a 1-0 win over West Torrance in the championship game on April 6.

"The first half of the season, going 13-0, definitely putting pressure on people — that was my highlight of the year," Mulcahey says.

On April 27, Mulcahey helped power the Falcons to an 11-0 league win over Glendale, in which he clubbed his record-tying home run.

"I felt really good," Mulcahey says. "I just tried to put the bat on the ball and getting that many home runs just helps our team out huge. I felt pretty good about that."

As impressive as he was with a bat in his hands this year, Mulcahey says he considers his biggest contributions to the team's success as being able to silence the other team's bats, whether posting a string of zeros or slamming the door with a dominant end-game relief appearance.

"They're both a key aspect of the game, but I actually see myself as a pitcher more than a hitter," Mulcahey says.

Mulcahey's teammates, particularly his fellow pitchers, appreciated the tone he set throughout the season on the mound.

"He just blew guys away, he was just overpowering," Surrey says. "He was just a lot stronger than everybody else."

Murray adds: "When he was on the mound, he threw hard. Batters were shaking their head going back to the dugout after they faced him."

Mulcahey's achievements manifested themselves in team success as well for Crescenta Valley.

The Falcons were dominant in league play, going 13-2 and having a chance to share the league title on the last day of the season before losing to champion Arcadia. Aside from the loss to open the season, the team lost to only the Apaches (twice), who were a Division II semifinalist, Chula Vista Mater Dei, whom the Falcons turned around and beat the next day, and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the first round of the Division II playoffs.

With Mulcahey back along with the rest of the team's junior core, next season's prospects look bright for the Falcons.

"I think he'll have a great year next year, maybe even better than this year," Murray says.

Mulcahey himself will be shooting for just that, as well as trying to get the team closer to its ultimate goals.

"We definitely plan on winning league," Mulcahey says, "and going really far in CIF."

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