NORTHEAST GLENDALE — After the first couple of innings, Hoover High baseball Coach Joe Cotti couldn't have been more impressed with the way Crescenta Valley pitcher Elliot Surrey operated on the mound.
While Cotti's team suffered a 5-0 Pacific League loss on Friday night at Stengel Field, he knew exactly where to place credit.
"He's very good at changing speeds on his pitches and he seems to hit his spots well," Cotti said after the UC Irvine-bound Surrey struck out nine and scattered three hits in six innings. "He's by far the best pitcher we've faced this season."
Surrey, a senior left-hander, helped Crescenta Valley improve to 7-4, 4-0 in league. Surrey (3-0) struck out the side in the fifth after speaking to pitching Coach Darrin Beer about his mechanics.
"I had been struggling a little and my shoulder was flying open," said Surrey, a reigning All-Area first-team honoree. "He told me to make some adjustments and that helped me out.
"I tried to go out there and not get rattled. Just take deep breaths. I give credit to Coach Beer."
Hoover (3-9-1, 1-3) saw lead-off hitter Kevin Mendoza open the game with a ground-ball single that skipped off second base. However, Surrey retired nine in a row before hitting Michael Zalin with a pitch to lead off the fourth. In fact, Surrey hit two batters in the inning, but got Orlando Marin to roll into a 4-6-3 double play to squelch any possible rally by the Tornadoes.
Crescenta Valley took a 1-0 lead in the first when Troy Mulcahey, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, doubled to left-center field to score Bryan Wang, who walked and stole second off Marin (2-2). The Falcons made it 2-0 in the second, as Michael Russo led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Ted Boeke came through with a run-scoring single.
Marin, who finished with four strikeouts, settled down in the middle innings before the Falcons tacked on three runs in the sixth to close out the scoring.
Troy Prasertsit led off with a home run to left to make it 3-0. Pinch hitter Nolan Rea then dunked a double down the left-field line to score Russo and Boeke to extend the lead to 5-0.
Crescenta Valley reliever Cole Currie pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out one.
Russo and Cam Silva finished with two hits apiece.