NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Technically speaking, Crescenta Valley High's baseball team assured itself a share of its first Pacific League title since 2008 on Tuesday afternoon with a lopsided win over last-place Muir.
But Friday night was truly the Falcons' night.
After a league-title drought and a seven-game losing streak against archrival Arcadia, Friday was most assuredly still circled on the Falcons' calendar, having clinched a share of league or not.
And thanks to seven brilliant innings from Kyle Murray, plenty of timely hitting and a cavalcade of CV momentum, the Falcons wrapped up the league crown all for themselves with a resounding 7-0 win over the Apaches at Stengel Field.
"It feels great," said senior right-hander Kyle Murray, who twirled a two-hit shutout. "We've been waiting a long time for this."
Having last won a league title four years ago, Crescenta Valley (20-7, 12-2 in league) prevented Arcadia (19-7, 10-4) from earning a share of its fourth championship in a row, as the Apaches lost their fourth straight league game to end the season after having won 41 consecutive league outings.
"This is a great feeling. Seven losses [in a row], that's no fun," said senior catcher Cam Silva in reference to the seven straight losses to Arcadia, which hadn't lost to CV since May of 2008. "We knew we had the guys to do it. We knew we had to the team to do it. We just had to get out here and do it and we finally did and it feels great."
While the title was a long time coming, the Falcons wasted little time on Friday, staking a 1-0 first-inning lead and never looking back or having reason to with Murray on the hill.
"[Having a share of the league title on Tuesday] meant nothing to us at all," Murray said. "We had pride. ... We owed it to the older guys to win it back."
Murray struck out nine, including the final batter of the game just before he jumped into Silva's arms and a celebratory dogpile ensued. He also walked just one, which came in the final inning, which was also only the second time an Arcadia runner ventured to second base.
"He was pumping strikes," Silva said. "I could just sit back there and know he was dominating. That's fun to catch."
The only two hits Arcadia could muster were of the infield variety, as Murray never waned, striking out five over the last three innings.
"I felt like I was getting stronger as the game went on," Murray said. "Everything went our way. Even if they did something good, something went better for us."
Example of that came in the opening inning. Elliot Surrey doubled to left-center field with one away and the bases were soon loaded after Troy Mulcahey was intentionally walked and Michael Russo was hit by a pitch.
With two outs, Troy Prasertsit then pulled a screamer down the third-base line, but a diving attempt stopped it. However, a hustling Mulcahey slid head first and just beat the third baseman to the bag, allowing Surrey to score for a 1-0 lead.
"Our team came out with a lot of intensity. We were ready from the first pitch to the last pitch," said Prasertsit, who went two for three with a walk, three runs batted in and a run scored. "We wanted to come out early and put pressure on them all night. That's what we did tonight."
It was in the bottom of the third, though, that the Falcons took over the game for good.
They scored four runs on two hits, two walks, a hit batter, a catcher's inference call and a wild pitch. Indeed, everything was rolling the way of the Falcons.
Mulcahey hustled in for a bloop double to lead off the inning before Russo was beaned again and Ted Boeke loaded the bases with a walk. Prasertsit then drove in a run again, this time on a four-pitch walk. Murray then pushed Russo across after CV Coach Phil Torres argued catcher's interference on a pitch and the ruling went in his favor. Arcadia was none too pleased with the call, but the inning's woes were merely starting.
Silva came up clutch with a single to opposite-field right to plate Prasertsit for a 5-0 advantage not long after Boeke scored on a wild pitch.
Thereafter, CV added another run when Prasertsit blistered a single up the middle in the fourth to score Russo. Silva added the final run in the fifth when he doubled in Murray, who was steadily taking down the Apache lineup inning after inning.
The win also culminated the league careers of Prasertsit, Surrey and Mulcahey, who, along with Nate Rousey (who had transferred, but was in attendance at the game), began their varsity careers as much ballyhooed freshmen and finally claimed their first league title.
"It's been a wonderful ride," Prasertsit said. "[I'm] a little bit emotional inside, but it's a great feeling."
And though it was the end of league, with CIF playoff pairings announced Monday, the Falcons are hoping for plenty more success.
"It was one of those days," Silva said. "It's gotta keep going. We've got a bunch more games, hopefully."