Softball team has won three straight games and will face rival Arcadia today.
By Brandon HENSLEY
Some wins that should be easy to come by simply don’t turn out that way. The Crescenta Valley softball team probably knew this after its close win over Hoover High School last month – Hoover is just 1-5 in the Pacific League – and it got another reminder Tuesday afternoon against Glendale High School.
The Falcons seemed to break the game open in the fifth inning with five runs but had to hold off a Nitros comeback in the sixth for a 7-4 road victory.
CV (9-7-1, 5-1 in league) didn’t just battle Glendale; strong winds all afternoon made it difficult to throw and catch and the infield dirt consistently kicked up, causing players to turn away during stoppages.
With the loss, Glendale dropped to 1-4 in league, while CV stayed tied for second place with Burroughs.
Burbank on the other hand, seems like the favorite to finish first. The Bulldogs are 6-0 in league and behind sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Brooks, who has verbally committed to Notre Dame, they’ve allowed just three total runs in those games.
The Falcons are at Arcadia (8-4, 2-2) today at 3:30 p.m.
CV has relied on the big inning recently. Last week against Burroughs, the Falcons scored six runs in the first inning and just one more the rest of the game.
Leading 2-0 on Tuesday, they scored five runs on eight hits in the fifth against Glendale pitcher Meghan Spencer, including an RBI double by Hannah Cookson and two hits and a RBI by No. 9 hitter Brady Sanford.
Still, Coach Mark Samford talked after the game about other chances his team let slip away. Samford has been harping on his players not getting deep into counts enough this season.
“If we stay patient we’re going to score runs,” he said.
The Falcons had two runners on in the fourth inning with no outs. But Taylor Hill made out and then Olivia Thayer struck out, and Whitney Craig tried to go to third base on the play but was thrown out.
In the sixth, CV had the bases loaded with one out but Chloe Fairbrother hit into a double play.
“I preach patience, and some kids got up and hack away,” said Samford. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance to get deep into the count.”
CV batters conjured up just two walks on Tuesday, and none April 11 in a 10-0 win over Pasadena. The game before that against Burroughs, Cookson collected all three walks, but even then Burroughs was intentionally pitching around her.
Glendale made its comeback trailing 7-1 in the sixth. They scored three runs on eight hits and a couple of CV errors, including when third baseman Hill threw to Fairbrother at first, but the ball went off her glove, which scored two Nitro runs.
“They did a good job, they put it in play and took what we gave them,” Samford said of Glendale’s rally.
Thayer was the winning pitcher. She allowed eight hits and was not charged with an earned run.
Sanford and Hailey Cookson tied for the team-high in hits with two each. Hailey provided the game’s most exciting moment with an inside the park home run when she hit a ball deep to centerfield that Glendale could not get back in quick enough.
“I thought it was going to be a double,” she said. “I don’t know, and then I kept running.”
Hailey had been struggling early in league. She went hitless in two straight games against Hoover and Burbank, but has since recorded seven hits in her last 12 at-bats.
“My dad’s been working with me, making me try harder,” she said. “I guess I’ve been hitting better. I guess there has been a difference.”
She also said she sometimes works with Nicole Giordano, a 1996 Saugus High graduate and member of Arizona’s 2001 national championship team. Hailey said Giordano has switched up her feet in her batting stance.
Tuesday was the first in a string of five straight road games for the Falcons. They next play at home May 1 against Burroughs.
“No freebies, for sure,” said Samford.
That might not be correct. On April 23 the Falcons are at Muir High School, a team they beat 26-0 last month.
But first up, it’s Arcadia, a rivalry game.
“The girls are up for that,” Samford said. “They want to get in and take care of business for sure.”
Samford said the environment isn’t quite like it is for CV-Arcadia basketball or baseball games, though he wouldn’t mind it.
“I’d like to see that environment. I’d like to see our girls succeed in that environment,” he said.
Starting catcher Jessica Morena was out on Tuesday with sickness. Her backup Grace Poole filled in, though she did not bat. That job went to Thayer, who usually only pitches.
Fairbrother pitched four innings April 11 vs. Pasadena, giving Thayer some rest, but more importantly it kept Fairbrother sharp, said Samford. In case something happens to Thayer, he said, “I’d like to get [Chloe] an inning here, an inning there, just to stay on top of it.”