Crescenta Valley baseball uses big innings to down Hoover

GLENDALE — It was an opportune inning for one team as it was grueling for the other.

One team’s patience at the plate was the other’s pitching hardships.

The inning was the first of six in a shortened Pacific League ballgame between Crescenta Valley High and Hoover— a frame in which the Falcons loaded the bases three times and scored four runs all on a single hit.

The Falcons capitalized on six walks and sustained the tone throughout the contest to defeat the Tornadoes, 11-1, Friday evening at Stengel Field.

“Base runners lead to runs,” said Crescenta Valley’s clean-up hitter Johnny Psaltis, who put the Falcons on the scoreboard after walking with the bases loaded. “The more you have, the better.”

Psaltis’ walk scored Ted Boeke, who tripled to lead off the inning and stood on third base as Bryan Wang and Michael Russo were also issued free passes.

Wang moved to third on Psaltis’ RBI and scored on Austin Brines’ groundout. With the bases loaded again, Adrian Dama flied out, but a throwing error allowed Russo to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead. Hoover starting pitcher Orlando Marin’s struggles continued as he hit Joe Torres with the bases loaded, scoring Psaltis.

Hoover’s pitching and defense would be problematic for the 4-14 Tornadoes, who committed five errors on the night and walked 10 batters.

“Orlando struggled in the first couple innings,” Tornadoes Coach Brian Esquival said. “There’s nothing you can do. It’s tough.”

The Falcons (15-7, 7-2 in league) used four pitchers and allowed three hits and one walk. Brian Gadsby started the game and pitched four strong innings, striking out six batters before coach Phil Torres brought in Boeke to start the fifth.

“We played really well,” Gadsby said. “We were competitive and I think we played our best ball.”

Gadsby left the game with a comfortable 9-0 lead after the Falcons added four runs in the fourth inning. Psaltis and Brines hit back-to-back doubles, plating Wang and Russo, respectively. Wang and Russo were both hit by pitches to start the inning.

Boeke went 2/3 of an inning and was relieved for Cory Longpre for the third out. The two seniors combined to strike out the side in the fifth.

The Tornadoes got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning on an infield single off the bat of Pierce Velasquez that scored Fidel Hernandez.

Hoover’s fifth error, though, would bring the mercy rule into play in the bottom half.

“We just need to stay in the game early and find a way to not fall behind,” Esquival said. “I give our boys credit, though. They’re trying to win and they stayed in the game.”

Crescenta Valley, along with Arcadia, and Burroughs are one game back of Burbank for first place in the league standings. The Falcons will host the Bulldogs Tuesday evening at Stengel Field.

“Every team wants to win the league championship,” Psaltis said. “We’re confident that if we not making mistakes, then we can compete and win each game.”

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