BURBANK — Burbank High pitcher Daniel Starkand and his counterpart at Crescenta Valley, Kyle Murray, battled in a valiant head-to-head tie baseball game through seven innings Friday. Unfortunately for the two hurlers, neither was around to garner a decision when the game was finally decided in the 10th inning.
Both Starkand and Murray pitched well and gave way to relievers after the Bulldogs and Falcons were knotted at 1 through regulation.
Despite having its chances to win the contest in regulation and in extra innings, Burbank wasn't able to cash in on its opportunities. That left the door open for Crescenta Valley.
Ted Boeke drove in Bryan Wang with one out in the top of the 10th inning to lift the visiting Falcons to hard-fought 2-1 Pacific League victory against Burbank.
"I was just looking to put the ball in play and make contact; see the ball, hit the ball," Boeke said. "I just wanted to make something happen."
The win was important for the Falcons (16-5, 8-1 in league) because it keeps them within striking distance of league-leading Arcadia, which has a one-game cushion over Crescenta Valley.
"There's going to be some games where you don't play good defense, and there's some games where you might not get good pitching," Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres said. "But their lefty did a great job and he battled all night. We just didn't hit the ball as well as we should have in this small ballpark."
In the 10th inning, Wang faced Burbank (9-8, 6-3) reliever Andrew Hernandez. Wang belted a single and was moved to second on a fielder's choice by Elliot Surrey. Following an intentional walk to Troy Mulcahey, Boeke made contact with the first pitch he saw. The ball took a high hop toward the Burbank second baseman, but just as the infielder was about to make the play the ball hopped over him and into left-center field. Wang was able to race home easily.
Burbank had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning after Mulcahey, who came on in relief, issued a walk to Dylan Mersola and a base hit to Harry Hernandez with two out. But Mulcahey recorded a strikeout to get out of the inning.
The Bulldogs looked to have the game won in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter CC Okomoto delivered a towering shot to right-center field. The ball just hit off the top of the fence and Okomoto was held to a long single.
"That missed going out by about two feet," Burbank Coach Bob Hart said.
Following two walks, the Bulldogs had the bases loaded with two outs. Paul Frias came to bat and he lined a hard shot to third base. Boeke, who was playing third, had a quick reaction to the ball, lunged to his left and made the stab.
Starkand gave up seven hits in seven innings and had four strikeouts. Murray also went seven, giving up four hits and striking out 13.
"He has been a warrior all year, he just doesn't get a lot of run support," Hart said of Starkand. "But my hat's off to [Crescenta Valley], they did a great job pitching.
"We definitely had our opportunities, but we just couldn't cash in on them."
Wang was three for five with two runs scored and Mulcahey was two for four with a walk.
Crescenta Valley scored a run in the third inning on an error. Burbank tied the game in the fifth on a pair of infield throwing errors.