BURBANK — An early offensive surge buoyed the Crescenta Valley High softball team. Standout center fielder Hannah Cookson did everything possible to make sure the lead wouldn't evaporate.
When called upon, Cookson delivered.
Cookson made two acrobatic catches and Crescenta Valley used a six-run first inning to record a 7-3 Pacific League road victory against Burroughs on Tuesday at Olive Park.
Crescenta Valley improved to 7-7-1, 2-2 in league. Burroughs, which has won three league championships in a row and is ranked No. 9 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division III poll, dipped to 11-5, 3-1.
The Falcons appeared to have a comfortable lead entering the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Indians inched closer. Burroughs closed to within 7-3 before Cookson went to work.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Burroughs' Aimee Rodriguez lined the ball to Cookson in center field, who made a sprawling backhand catch to snuff out the rally.
It's a do-or-die situation," said Cookson, a reigning All-Area pick. "I tried to get at it and I love diving.
"We were able to get off to a quick start from the beginning and that helped us relax more. It's a big win for us."
Cookson responded again in the sixth, making another acrobatic catch with a runner on first base.
"Hannah made two outstanding plays that helped us out," Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Samford said. "She's that type of player."
The Falcons took command in the first, sending 10 batters to the plate and churning out six hits. Adela Alabraca gave Crescenta Valley a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring triple and scored on a fielder's choice by Tiffany Briscoe to make it 2-0.
Chloe Fairbrother then registered a two-run single to make it 4-0. A ground out by Taylor hill and a run-scoring single by Brady Sanford capped the inning against Burroughs starting pitcher Cheyenne Steward (7-3).
"I thought we were patient in the beginning and then lost that patience in the middle of the game at the plate," Samford said. "We wound up taking a step in the right direction because this is a huge win."
Briscoe had a run-scoring single to make it 7-0 in the fourth.
Burroughs scored a pair of runs in the fifth to pull to within 7-2. A ground out by Brice Edrington made it 7-1 and Michelle Santiago scored on an error by the left fielder. The Indians completed the scoring on a run-scoring double by Kaitlin Okimoto off Crescenta Valley starting pitcher Olivia Thayer (7-6-1).
The defeat left Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol deflated.
"We were just not ready to compete; we were flat," Nicol said. "Give credit to Olivia pitching a good game and Hannah coming up with those two great catches.
"We didn't match CV's level of intensity and it's something that we are going to have to learn from."