For the first time since 2008, the Crescenta Valley High baseball team captured the Pacific League championship this season.
The last time that happened was also the last time the Falcons (20-7) advanced past the first round of the playoffs.
Whether or not history repeats itself this season will depend on how well the Falcons match up with Tustin, which visits Stengel Field at 4:15 p.m. today for a CIF Southern Section Division II first-round game.
The first key, according to Falcons senior right fielder Troy Mulcahey, a veteran of the last three CV teams, is to approach the game with an appropriate level of focus and urgency.
"First off, we definitely have to go at each game instead of looking at the ending goal," Mulcahey said. "We just have to look at the first one as if it's the championship."
CV pitcher Elliot Surrey, who has also been a four-year starter, cautioned against the pitfall of overlooking the Tillers based on their 12-16 record and third-place finish in the Empire League.
That league happens to be one of the toughest in the division, with both the No. 2 (Garden Grove Pacifica) and No. 4 (Cypress) seeds originating from its ranks.
"The only thing we know is they come from a really good league, so every team they played is good competition," Surrey said. "We can't look down on them and think it's going to be an easy game."
Surrey, a lefty, figures to be one of the Falcons' likely options to start the game on the bump, if not hard-throwing senior right-hander Kyle Murray.
"Whoever we start, we'll feel good about," said Falcons Coach Phil Torres, who watched the Tillers beat host La Sierra, 13-4, in Tuesday's wild-card round.
Torres said Tustin's offense was paced by four home runs on Tuesday.
"They hit the ball really well," Torres said. "They beat up a second-place team, so we'll have our hands full on Thursday like we always do in this division."
It's already been a special season for Crescenta Valley, with a 7-0 win over archrival Arcadia in the regular-season finale delivering an outright claim to the first league title for this talented senior class that also includes starters Troy Prasertsit and Cam Silva. The Falcons, and particularly those seniors, see no reason to stop the ride now.
"I think with our league win, we're going to try to use that as motivation to keep going and get the ball rolling," Surrey said. "Every game will be a tough game, but if we just do what we know we can, then I think we'll end up on top."