LA CRESCENTA — When first the Burbank High and Crescenta Valley softball teams locked up in a Pacific League affair, the teams combined for 15 runs with the Bulldogs taking home a dramatic extra-inning, one-run victory.
Though the teams combined once more for 15 runs, Tuesday's showdown was a far different ballgame, as consequently, Crescenta Valley appears to be a much different ballclub after winning its 10th straight game in the form of an emphatic 11-4 home victory against Burbank.
Crescenta Valley (17-8, 11-2) certainly stepped it up and answered in kind after Burbank (17-8, 11-2) took a 3-0 lead in the first inning only to watch it quickly fall to the wayside when the Falcons erupted for five first-inning runs of their own.
"They defend their home turf well, they came up with big hits," said Bulldogs Coach Nicole Drabecki, whose team had a seven-game winning streak halted. "After we scored the three runs, I was thinking, 'Wow, we have a good game in front of us.' And then they came back. They scored those runs and they never stopped."
The Falcons offense, bolstered by senior shortstop Alyssa Sovereign's three hits and two runs and a two-run home run by Sydney House, followed the five-run first with a huge four-run fourth that essentially put the game on ice.
With Tuesday's outcome, both teams are assured finishing no lower than third place in league, as both are tied for second heading into Thursday's finale in which the Falcons face rival Arcadia and the Bulldogs take on rival Burroughs, which sits in first place.
Should both CV and Burbank prevail, it would force a three-way tie for the league title.
It's clearly something Drabecki and Co. would gladly oblige.
"I would love to come up with a victory and a three-way tie for first place," Drabecki said.
Kassi Smith began the day with a 10-pitch at-bat that ended with her hit by a pitch on the wrist. Then Alyssa Meredith reached on a bunt single and with runners on second and third, Kassy Uchida lined a shot off Ashby. Quickly thinking, Ashby went home to get Smith, but the catcher simply tagged the plate, not realizing it was not a force play. A Megan Schafer groundout would plate Meredith before Sarah Riojas singled in Uchida.
Riojas went three for three on the day, while Schafer had two hits in the Bulldogs' 10-hit effort. While only two came in the opening inning, the offense was rarely heard from again.
In the top of the sixth, courtesy runner Jessica Murphy scored on a double steal, cutting the score to 11-4.
It was in the top of the third and fourth, that Burbank had chances to make the game close, but came away with nothing to show for it.
Uchida and Schafer had one-out singles in the third, but the former was thrown out attempting to steal third, helping to quell the threat.
In the fourth, Burbank had a pair of runners on with no outs and the bases loaded with two outs, but Ashby buckled down.