GLENDALE — For the first four innings of its Pacific League game Tuesday against Crescenta Valley High, the Glendale softball team was right in the thick of things.
Despite some errors that led to two early runs by the Falcons, the Nitros battled back and put themselves in the game, trailing by just a run headed into the fifth inning.
But things fell apart for Glendale in the fifth, as the Crescenta Valley bats came alive to the tune of five runs. Although the Nitros would get three of those runs back one inning later, they couldn't battle their way back, falling to the host Falcons, 7-4, at home.
"I think we work our way through the lineup one time and we lose out patience some times," Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Samford said. "Instead of a five- or six-run inning, I would much rather have more innings where we score two or three runs. I don't like having to rely on the big inning. I want us to be patient throughout the game."
Every win at this point in the Pacific League campaign is an important one for the Falcons (9-7-1, 5-1 in league), who are tied for second place in league with Burroughs (13-5, 5-1), and just one game behind first-place Burbank (13-1, 6-0).
Burbank and Burroughs will play in their first meeting of the year Thursday.
"We talk a lot about us just taking care of our own business right now," Samford said. "If we do that, I think we're going to find ourselves in a good spot. We just have to play one game and then concentrate on the next one."
Crescenta Valley kept its title aspirations alive with a solid offensive output in the fifth inning. The Falcons brought 11 batters to the plate and teed off on Glendale (1-11, 1-4) starting pitcher Meghan Spencer. Crescenta Valley pounded out seven hits and took advantage of a Glendale error to tally the five runs.
In the fifth, Brady Sanford had two hits and drove in a run. Also driving in runs were Hannah Cookson, Tiffany Briscoe and Olivia Thayer.
"It's highly frustrating," said Glendale Coach Christine Paknik, referring to Crescenta Valley's big inning. "We had some mental errors and we had some physical errors and those kinds of things can really change the momentum in a game like this.
"But I was happy that we were able to bounce back and that speaks volumes about their character."
The Nitros found themselves behind, 7-1, heading into the sixth inning. However, Glendale touched up Thayer — who started in the circle for the Falcons — for three runs in the sixth. Singles by Alex Howard (three for four), Jordan Lousarrarian and Alia Zavala (two for three), coupled with a run-scoring base hit from Eden Marzucco, helped fuel the rally.
Glendale also scored two runs in the inning on a Crescenta Valley error.
It was a Nitros error that led to the first run of the game in the opening frame by the Falcons. Hailey Cookson (two for four with a triple) led off the inning with a single to right field and advanced to third on two consecutive fielder's choice plays. She scored on a throwing error on a grounder by Briscoe.
The Falcons tacked on another run in the third when Cookson tripled over the center fielder's head and motored home when the throw from the outfield was mishandled.
Glendale cut the 2-0 lead in half in the fourth when Esmeralda Winland walked and scored on a fielder's choice by Brenna Cancilla.
"We just have to come through for seven innings with our at-bats and we just didn't do that today," Paknik said.