BURBANK — In the span of 14 innings and less than 24 hours, the Crescenta Valley High baseball team has created quite a stir atop the Pacific League standings.
Not yet a full day removed from displacing Burbank from its spot alone in first and creating a four-way tie, the Falcons took on host Burroughs on Wednesday afternoon and delivered the Indians a 4-2 loss that left three teams standing at the top of the Pacific League.
“Coming into this week, our coach told us we had to win these two games,” said Falcons senior Ted Boeke. “If we wanted to win the Pacific League, we had to win these two games.”
Boeke proved crucial and clutch on Wednesday, spinning a complete game in which he allowed two runs, both unearned, on four hits, while striking out nine and walking three. He bookended the game with a perfect first and seventh inning, finishing with a final inning in which he needed just six pitches — all strikes.
“Coach [Phil] Torres came in and told me the game was mine and he wasn’t gonna give it to anybody else,” said Boeke, who was also two for three at the plate with two runs batted in, a run scored and an intentional walk. “That gave me some extra confidence.”
On Tuesday, Crescenta Valley beat Burbank, 4-1, causing a first-place tie among both of squads and Burroughs and Arcadia. But after Wednesday’s action, in which Arcadia defeated Hoover and Burbank bested Pasadena, Crescenta Valley (17-7, 9-2 league) is tied for first with Burbank (14-8, 9-2) and Arcadia (17-7, 9-2), while the loss dropped Burroughs (14-10, 8-3) into fourth.
“We just gotta bounce back and we gotta come back and win games,” said Burroughs Coach Kiel Holmes, whose team has now lost three of its last five league games — all of them against the trio of first-place squads. “We gotta win every one. In this game, in this league, you never know how it’s gonna play out.”
The Indians went to sleep Tuesday night in first, but on Wednesday afternoon had fallen all the way to fourth, thanks in large part to Boeke’s performance on the bump and a game-turning fifth inning for the Falcons that was also bolstered by Boeke.
Chasing two runs and having had only three previous base runners, the Falcons got walks from Austin Brines and Adrian Damla to lead off the inning and seemingly grasp the momentum that had long been in Burroughs’ hands.
But after a two-strike sacrifice bunt by Weston Walker moved runners to second and third, Burroughs’ Patrick Christopher climbed the ladder to snare a line drive by Brett Klein that quickly registered a second out and looked as if Indians starter Luis Pereyra would escape the jam.
Boeke changed all that, though, when he took the first pitch he saw and doubled down the first-base line, scoring Brines and pinch-runner Kevin Hello to tie the game.
“Coming up with two outs, my only approach was to get a hit,” said Boeke, who later took third on a wild pitch.
Brian Wang followed with a walk to bring three-hitter Michael Russo to the plate.
Russo, who doubled in the first inning, pulled a single to right field to score Boeke for the game-winner.
With momentum firmly in the Indians’ favor before the fifth, Russo said the Falcons were well aware of the importance of the situation.
“Actually, in the dugout, we were sitting there and we were saying this is it, we just said this is the inning we have to score,” Russo said. “We just decided and it happened.”
Pereyra got a strikeout to end the inning and his day on the mound. The senior went five innings, allowing three runs, five hits, three walks and striking out seven.
“Lou pitched a helluva game today,” Holmes said. “He had them guessing.”
Pereyra was bestowed an early lead thanks to some timely Burroughs’ hitting and a pair of Crescenta Valley gaffes.
Christopher drew a two-out walk in the second that was followed by an Akira Abderrahman double that put runners on second and third. Boeke threw back to Abderrahman at second and looked to have him by a few feet, but the throw was behind the shortstop and trickled into center fielder, allowing Christopher to grab a 1-0 lead.
In the third, a similar sequence scored another run. Aiden Anding led off with a walk and then took second when it looked like he was picked off first, but the snap throw by the catcher went past the first baseman. Anding scored on the next pitch when Miles Haddad doubled to right-center.
But Burroughs’ base-running troubles would bite them in the bottom of the sixth when a leadoff single was immediately erased when the runner looked for a double and was punched out in a rundown. The following batter reached on an error, but was thrown out stealing.
In the top of the seventh, CV added an insurance run when Wang blooped a shot over first base to score pinch-runner Kyle Tremain.
And then, of course, Boeke came on to finish what he started.
“It was huge,” said Russo of the win. “The team played great, everything worked out as it should’ve.”