NORTHEAST GLENDALE — One bad inning for Crescenta Valley High starting pitcher Elliot Surrey was enough to make Friday night's Pacific League opener against Pasadena a nailbiter.
But six other innings of brilliance, capped by a dominant seventh inning in which he struck out the side looking, were enough to garner the desired end result, as the senior left-hander twirled a complete game to lead the Falcons to a 3-2 win over the Bulldogs at Stengel Field.
"Elliot did great today," said sophomore designated hitter Michael Russo, who singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth and finished with a pair of singles. "After that bad inning, he came right back as if nothing happened."
Nursing a 2-0 lead with one out in the fourth, Surrey issued his first walk, before allowing his first hit and then his second on the ensuing at-bat. Pasadena (3-4 0-1 in league), made the most of it, as both hits were doubles and both scored runs to tie the game.
Thereafter, Surrey pitched out of a jam created by two errors in the fifth and retired the last eight batters he faced, putting the finishing touches on a 107-pitch two-hitter in which he struck out 11 to just one walk.
"The good innings, I was just getting ahead. [Pitching coach] Darrin Beer was calling a great game with great sequencing," said Surrey, who threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 27 batters he faced, but fell behind on 2-0 counts to all three Pasadena batters that reached base in the fourth. "The bad inning was my fault, I was just getting behind."
The win put Surrey at 2-0 and evened the Falcons' record at 3-3 and returned Crescenta Valley to the win column for the first time since March 3, as it had lost its previous two games before a rained-out doubleheader on Saturday.
"It was important just to get back on track winning," Surrey said. "It's just good to get that feeling."
Of the utmost importance, as well, was getting off to a winning league start for a Falcons squad bolstered by a senior core of Surrey, reigning All-Area Baseball Player of the Year Troy Mulcahey, Troy Prasertsit and Kyle Murray looking to win the program's first league title since 2008, which was the last year of a seven-season title run.
"It's important for us to get back on track of winning league," Surrey said.
Prasertsit led off with a single to start the second and after a Russo one-out single, Ted Boeke lifted a line-drive double to left-center field to plate Prasertsit for a 1-0 lead. Boeke added another hit and a walk on the day.
However, Russo and Boeke were both stranded in what would become a trend for the Falcons, who had two runners punched out on the bases and stranded nine.
"We gotta take more advantage when we have runners on," Surrey said.
There was nobody on base when Mulcahey sent a no-doubter deep into the night in the bottom of the third, which sent the Falcons to a 2-0 lead and everyone in the stands to Baskin Robbins for free ice cream as part of CV's regular third-inning home run promotion.
Thereafter, Prasertsit and Cole Currie were stranded in the stanza after singles. In the fourth, CV left the bases loaded.
Finally in the fifth, Currie drew a walk with one out and advanced two bases on wild pitches that helped Russo to a 3-1 count. He then dribbled a bouncer up the middle of a drawn-in infield for the eventual game-winner.
"It was just a nice pitch at the right time," Russo said. "I saw that they were in and it worked out for the best."
After that it was all Surrey, who threw 11 strikes to three balls in the sixth before settling in to strike out the last three batters in the seventh.
"I just zoned in," he said, "put my blinders on and didn't let anything bother me."