LA CRESCENTA — With both teams battling for a top-two spot in the Pacific League, there was little room for error when the Crescenta Valley and Burroughs high softball teams collided Wednesday.
With the pressure turned on, the Falcons committed four errors, but their bats covered up those miscues, as they bashed 11 hits en route to a 10-7 home victory. The win moved CV (12-9-1, 8-3 in league) into a three-way tie for second place in the league standings with the Indians (16-7, 8-3) and Arcadia (14-5, 8-3) with three games left to play.
“It was huge for league and playoff seedings,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Mark Samford, whose team fell to league-leading Burbank, 10-2, Tuesday. “If we lose this game it changes the complexion of our standings and the importance of games down the line.”
Burroughs Coach Doug Nicol said the difference in the game was the clutch hitting of CV, which scored half of its runs with two outs.
“They were just tougher in their at-bats, we just told the girls they weren’t tough in their at-bats,” Nicol said. “Basically, it came down to a bunch of battles and [the Falcons] won more battles than we did. We have to do a better job of getting tougher when we have two strikes and two outs and [CV] did a great job of that.”
While Crescenta Valley never trailed in the contest, an equally potent Burroughs offense made sure the home team never felt comfortable. The Falcons held an 8-3 advantage heading into the sixth inning when the Indians clawed back into contention with a two-run single from Kaitlin Okimoto.
It put Burroughs, which piled on 15 hits, back within two runs after a passed ball scored Tori Talavera, who was one of four players to single aboard, in the frame.
In need of an answer, Whitney Craig picked up the call for Crescenta Valley in the bottom of the sixth. The junior capped off an impressive day when she bashed a two-run double off the fence in left-center field.
“When I came up I was nervous, but I knew I had to pull through because we needed the runs,” said Craig, who was two for three with four RBI. “Every time we’d get up and get runs, they’d get up and get runs. It was back and fourth; I had to do something.”
The blast scored Adela Alatraca (two for two) and Hannah Cookson, who were walked aboard with one out and moved into scoring position on a Tiffany Briscoe single.
Once again, Burroughs didn’t go quietly in its final at-bats. Cheyenne Steward started the inning with a double to the fence in the right-center field gap, but a botched sacrifice bunt that popped to the pitcher put CV two outs away from victory.
“We made some mistakes,” said Nicol, who had two runners thrown out at home. “We seem to make a lot of little mistakes on the base paths, things that could have gotten us a few more runs that we didn’t do.”
Danielle Ryan singled home Steward to cap the scoring, as Crescenta Valley relief pitcher Chloe Fairbrother struck out a batter and induced a grounder to third to end the game.
After sweeping the two-game set with Burroughs, Crescenta Valley will look to ensure a top-two finish in league by winning out. It travels to Pasadena Friday, hosts Glendale Tuesday and Arcadia on Thursday.
“We can’t afford to have a bad one,” Samford said. “We gave ourselves a little breathing room, but we’ve got a game day after tomorrow and we have to be ready to go. As far as I know, as long as you keep winning that kind of takes care of all of the problems.”
The Falcons padded their lead with a four-run fifth inning Wednesday. The outburst came on a leadoff Alatraca double and RBI singles from Fairbrother, Taylor Hill (two for four, stolen base), Clair O'Connor (stolen base) and a double steal.
Sisters Hailey and Hannah Cookson accounted for CV’s first four runs after the two started the first and third innings with leadoff singles and walks, respectively.
Hailey (two for four, two runs) and Hannah scored on a passed ball and Craig sacrifice fly, respectively, in the first.
A trio of singles from Michelle Santiago (three for four, two runs), Brice Edrington (two for four) and Delaney Nicol (three for four, RBI) got the Indians on the board in the top of the third.
Hailey and Hannah, who was pitched around all four times, stole two bases and scored four runs, were plated on a Briscoe sacrifice fly and Craig RBI single, respectively, in the third.
Behind, 4-1, the Indians pulled within a run on a pair of singles from Steward (three for four) and Talavera (two for four). The single into right field from Talavera was compounded by a Crescenta Valley throwing error that scored Steward and Ryan, who reached on an error a play earlier.