By Brandon HENSLEY
The Falcons’ varsity baseball team played the waiting game Tuesday night at Stengel Field.
It waited for its pitching to show up, which didn’t happen. Then it waited for its offense to show up, which came around just in the nick of time.
Elliot Surrey provided the key hit in the Falcons’ 8-7 victory over Burbank High School when his three-run triple in the fifth inning helped seal the second Falcon comeback in as many games.
The Falcons trailed 5-1 at one point.
“I knew they would play well,” Falcons Coach Phil Torres said of Burbank, who is now 11-16 overall. “They have good players.”
The Falcons (23-3, 13-1 in the Pacific League) were searching for their eighth straight win, but in front of many of their family members (all the players’ relatives threw out simultaneous first pitches), the start of the game was a rocky one.
Starting pitcher Troy Mulcahey could not find his groove, despite striking out the side in the first inning. He allowed a run in that inning, and couldn’t get an out in the second. After a wild throw on a pickoff attempt, Torres pulled Mulcahey in favor of Kyle Pomeroy. Mulcahey was charged with three runs on three hits.
“Troy just melted down on us so we had to get him out of there. You have to do what’s best for the group and he just wasn’t pitching well,” said Torres.
Pomeroy pitched slightly better, going five innings and allowing three runs. But a defensive lapse in the fourth inning seemed to signal what type of a night the Falcons were in for.
The Bulldogs’ Chris Okimoto scored from first base after an out was made at first. The Falcons had no one covering third after the out was recorded and Okimoto slid into third easily. Catcher Cam Silva came out to back up the third baseman, and when Okimoto saw home plate uncovered he came around to score to make it 5-1.
CV finally got around to showing its muscle in the bottom of the fourth. Silva drilled a home run to left field with two men on making the score 5-4. The Falcons failed to further capitalize with the bases loaded and only one out, but the heroics would come later.
Trailing 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth, the Falcons loaded the bases with two out. Surrey stepped to the plate and managed to get the count to 3-0. Then came the waiting game. Surrey proceeded to foul off many pitches in a row to run the count full. But tension comes before the payoff, and the left-handed Surrey finally lined a shot down the first base line scoring three runs. Surrey would later score on a delayed double steal.
“It’s a great at-bat by Elliot because I think he got screwed on the 3-0 pitch,” said Torres, thinking Surrey should have gotten a walk, “but it ended up working out for us.”
“He’s such a hard-working kid, humble kid.”
“I just tried not to swing at anything that was above my hands or anything that was out of my reach,” said Surrey, who went three for four. “Honestly, my heart was pumping a little bit because I was excited. I wanted to get up there and help the team.
“I’ve had hits like that but not in league, so league is more important.”
The Falcons had to come back late against Pasadena last weekend, and maybe that’s not the best recipe for success, especially in the playoffs, which start next Thursday.
“We know we’re a good team and we can scrap back against any team,” Surrey said.
If the Falcons win their last regular season game on Friday at Arcadia, they would tie the Apaches for the Pacific League title.
“That doesn’t matter, we’re going there to win [regardless],” said Torres.
This week it was announced the Falcons are currently ranked No. 5 in the Southern Section Division II. Arcadia is ranked fourth. Playoff seedings will be announced Monday.
“You know, that really doesn’t matter until the season is over,” Torres said. “The only thing that matters is going over there (Arcadia) and getting a W, and then the rankings and all that other stuff, that’ll take care of itself.”
Friday’s game is at Arcadia
at 7 p.m.