Both Falcon programs have not had the early success they expected and will look to turn it around next week
By Brandon HENSLEY
It’s been a tough start to the season for the Crescenta Valley High School baseball and softball teams. Though both are coming off successful seasons in 2012, it’s been a different story so far in 2013.
CV went 1-3 in the annual Babe Herman Tournament at Stengel Field this week, including a 12-2 loss to Oak Hills on Wednesday afternoon. CV is now 5-5 overall heading into Saturday’s double header at Mater Dei High School. On Tuesday, the team plays a double header against Loyola at USC starting at 6 p.m.
The team won its first Pacific League championship since 2008 last year. It lost starting pitchers Elliot Surrey and Kyle Murray, both of whom are playing in college currently, as well as power bat Troy Mulcahey.
This year’s team is relying on the bat of senior infielder Ted Boeke, who also pitches. Boeke was solid on the mound and at the plate on Monday against Birmingham High School.
The Falcons lost that one 4-3, but Boeke pitched a solid 5 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and three runs. He also went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
CV led Wednesday’s game 2-0 until Oak Hills exploded for 10 runs in the fifth inning on six hits and three Falcon errors. Starting pitcher Nolan Rea left that inning with one out, having given up four hits and no runs, but Coach Phil Torres used three relievers – Brian Gadsby, Jimmy Smiley and Cory Longpre – and all of them, along with some shoddy defense, gave up the 10-spot. Rea was charged with one of the runs.
“We ran out of pitching,” said Torres. “So we were stuck with guys who haven’t pitched very much or were inexperienced. And we had some chances to put runs on them early in the game and didn’t do it.”
CV had the bases loaded in the third with one out leading 1-0, but the No. 4 and 5 hitters Jonny Psaltis and Brett Klein both popped out. Boeke had two of the Falcons’ four hits on Wednesday.
Errors were a problem early in the tournament. The Falcons committed seven of them in last Saturday’s loss to Cleveland, and made five errors against Birmingham.
The Falcons are 1-0 in league, having defeated Muir 10-0 on March 15. Their next league game is March 29 against Hoover.
“No one wants to be 5-5,” Torres said of his team’s record. “That’s terrible. We played terrible, and if we don’t get better we going to get embarrassed in league.”
Lady Falcons Report
The Falcons’ softball team went 20-8 last year and lost in a CIF wildcard game to Notre Dame. This year, CV is currently 5-6-1 after a subpar performance in the High Desert Classic tournament last weekend.
The Falcons went 1-3 in the tournament. Their only win was against Paraclete, 12-4, a game in which sisters Hannah and Hailey Cookson combined for five hits and five RBIs.
Hailey and Hannah lead the team in batting average (.488 and .477) while Hannah has two of the team’s four home runs on the season (Taylor Hill has the other two).
Things were much easier March 15 at home against Muir. CV dominated a Mustangs team that was just happy to make the most routine of plays, and the Falcons won 26-0. Pitcher Olivia Thayer struck out 13 Muir batters.
“It’s another game in the season and we have to go out and work hard,” she said after the game. “Not to think of it as practice, but to work hard on things we normally do.”
Thayer has a 4-4 record as a pitcher, with a 1.46 earned-run average. Chloe Fairbrother, CV’s other pitcher, is 1-2 with a 5.57 ERA.
“Olivia is more of our starting pitcher,” said assistant coach Ashleigh Viers-Gordillo. “Chloe comes in and throws a lot of junk, a lot of off-speed pitches. I expect Olivia to come out throwing hard, and Chloe comes on in relief and shuts them down with her junk.”
Thayer said she has closeness with her pitching partner.
“Chloe is the number one person I go to. We understand each other the most … we always work together,” she said.
Even with that attitude, the Lady Falcons are probably not where they want to be, under .500. They’ll look to turn that around when they play Hoover on March 28.
“I think we have a good handle on the other teams in league,” said Viers-Gordillo. “[Burbank and Burroughs] are definitely going to bring it hard.”