For the Falcons to take back league from Arcadia, they will be counting on pitching and veteran leadership.
By Brandon HENSLEY
When the winter gives way to the spring, it means the roles are reversed when it comes to league rivals Crescenta Valley and Arcadia. The Falcons may enjoy the upper hand currently in basketball, but it’s been the Apaches that own the Pacific League in baseball.
This season, CV thinks it can overtake Arcadia’s three-year reign atop league this time around, and if it happens, it will be mostly due to the pitching staff and veteran leadership. CV, 23-5 in 2011, last won a league title in 2008, but has finished either second or third to Arcadia since then.
The Falcon pitching rotation will feature seniors Elliot Surrey, Troy Mulcahey and Kyle Murray, and they will be counted on heavily as the season progresses.
“Our No. 1 strength is obviously pitching,” said Surrey, who was part of a staff that gave up less than two runs a game last season.
“For a high school staff, we’re pretty deep. We go four, five deep, guys that can throw strikes,” said Coach Phil Torres.
Murray started last year’s playoff game, a 6-3 loss to Notre Dame, but Torres said he likes the makeup of Surrey and will look for more from his other throwers.
“The things about Elliot, he throws tons of strikes, and he’s so confident. Troy, he’s still got to prove himself. He and Kyle Murray still have a lot to prove.”
CV lost five seniors from last year, including pitcher Kyle Pomeroy, but they are overall a more experienced team than they’ve been recently.
“We got our butts kicked having young guys here for a couple years and it’s nice to be on the other end,” Torres said.
Is that experience enough this year?
“We have the kind of team that can [win], but until we play Arcadia and beat them, they’re the champs … those will be two tough games and both Burbank schools will be tough, too.”
Surrey said a goal of the team is to try and win league.
“We’d like to. We just have to make sure we put together the tiny things on the field, like defense and offensive [things], we have to put it together as one.”
Offensively, Torres said scoring might be down this year, and not just for his team. New bat regulations for high school teams nationally may see less runs at the park.
“They changed the bats, so the velocity of the ball coming off the bats is not the same as it was in years before,” said Torres. “So there’s going to be less runs scored in college and in high school. It’s more of a wooden bat-feel to the ball.”
Torres said he has some decisions to make as far as the lineup goes. While junior infielder Cole Currie was finishing his run with the basketball team, Torres said Brian Wang was doing a solid job as the leadoff hitter, which is where Currie bats.
Surrey will hit second, Mulcahey and Prasertsit will bat after that. Murray and is the designated hitter. CV averaged 6.3 runs per game last season.
The Falcons made the CIF Quarterfinals in 2001 and 2007, and won the CIF Division I title in 1998 when they celebrated on the field at Dodger Stadium. Surrey said that kind of feeling would be a great way to go out.
“For our team, I think it would be good to get to that point, it would be a lot of fun. We know we can go far, it’s just a matter of putting forth the effort,” he said.
CV opens league play today against Pasadena at Stengel Field at 7 p.m.