GLENDALE — It was a night of missed chances for the Crescenta Valley High baseball team Friday night.
Trailing Arcadia by a run heading into their final at-bats, the Falcons put the tying and winning run on base but ground into a game-ending, 6-4-3 double play. It allowed the Apaches to walk away with a 3-2 Pacific League win.
“We gave ourselves chances in the last two innings, you know,” Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres said, “and [we] hit it right on the nose to end the game, but hit it right where the shortstop was standing.
“He smoked it, that pitcher didn't fool him, he smoked it, but hit it right to him. If he hits it three feet this way or three feet this way there's going to be a play at the plate.”
It was one of two glaring signs of CV's offensive struggles, as it had just four hits Friday night at Stengel Field.
Crescenta Valley (13-7, 5-2 in league) had a chance to move back into first place in league, as Burbank (11-7, 6-1) knocked off Burroughs (12-8, 6-1), 8-6, the same night to create a tie for first place between the two rivals. Instead, the loss dropped the Falcons into a tie for third place with the Apaches (14-6, 5-2).
“We still have to play seven more games,” Torres said. “Absolutely [there's plenty of time left], there's one round for everybody, so we're just going to start it all over again tomorrow.”
CV's Joe Torres represented the tying run when he drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ted Boeke became the potential winning run when he worked a full-count walk to put runners at first and second with one out, prompting an Arcadia pitching change.
The Falcons’ next batter smashed the ball to shortstop, who rolled it for the game-ending double play, which led to Arcadia's reliever taunting the home crowd with a celebration.
“We'll play them at the end of the year, we'll remember their pitchers little arrow shot from the mound, too,” said the elder Torres, whose team finishes the season at Arcadia May 10 at 7 p.m.
While the game-ending double play may be the most memorable evidence of the Falcons’ woes at the plate, the first inning is the best example.
Crescenta Valley had a chance to take control of the game, loading the bases with one out in its first at-bats, thanks to a walk and two hit by pitches. The Falcons walked away with just one run and a 1-0 lead on a Nolan Rea single after a line out and grounder to the pitcher ended the threat.
“We had a chance there in the first inning, but we let them slip out of it,” Torres said. “Then both pitchers settled in and did what they've done all year.”
Arcadia starting pitcher Austin Georgen rebounded from his first-inning struggles and nearly logged a complete game. The righty, who boasted plenty of movement on his pitches, gave up three hits, three walks, hit two batters and allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings.
CV ace Brian Gadsby had some struggles, but danced out of danger. He went 5 1/3 innings in which he gave up four hits, four walks, hit three batters and struck out five.
After the Falcons’ inability to open up a big lead early, Arcadia came right back and took a lead. Georgen led off the second inning with a double and a Jason Bunch single down the first-base line scored him.
A walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases for the Apaches, who got a two-out walk from David Dominguez to give them a 2-1 advantage, in the same frame.
Already trailing, a remarkable catch in right field from Rea, which saved two runs and ended the top of the fifth, appeared to give the Falcons momentum in the bottom half.
Joe Torres lined a single into left and moved to second as it rolled past the fielder. A Bryan Wang opposite-field single put runners at the corners with one out. Michael Russo then knotted the score at 2 when he smashed a line drive up the middle that was somehow knocked down by Georgen, who threw to first for the out, allowing the runner to score.
Arcadia took a 3-2 lead on a Dominguez run-scoring single and loaded the bases with one out in the top of the sixth. Gadsby was then pulled in favor of Boeke, who kept the Falcons in striking distance with a strikeout and groundout.