By Brandon HENSLEY
he Falcons said goodbye to their seniors on Tuesday, but at least they can still say hello to a playoff spot next week.
With one game remaining in the regular season, the Crescenta Valley High School softball team picked up a much-needed win on Tuesday at home. Of course, the win was almost a foregone conclusion; the Falcons played the Muir Mustangs, who are winless in the Pacific League this season.
The Falcons put together an 11-run first inning and breezed to an 18-0 win on senior recognition day, ending a three-game skid. Pitcher Adela Alatraca, shortstop Hailey Cookson, second baseman Bailey Renfro, centerfield Melanie Abzun and right fielder Claire O’Connor were honored before the game, the last one at home, unless the Falcons receive a favorable matchup in the CIF Division III playoffs.
Abzun hit two runs on Tuesday, one in the first inning and one in the third.
CV played in a home wildcard game last year, which they won. The wildcard round is a play-in game for the first round of the playoffs, and that might be what CV receives again. The Falcons are 8-5 in league (15-10 overall) and if they don’t win today at Arcadia (game time is 3:30 p.m.) they will take fourth place in league. If they do beat the Apaches, they’ll take third, behind Burroughs and Burbank.
Burbank is led by senior pitcher Caitlyn Brooks, who is bound for the University of Notre Dame in the fall. She has been nearly untouchable in her high school career. She notched her 80th victory in the circle April 30 against Crescenta Valley, 3-2.
Even in a loss, that game turned out to be possibly the best contest the Falcons have played this season. They were the first team this league season to score more than one run off Brooks. In the fourth inning, CV’s Jessica Yzaguirre hit to shortstop Sabrina Steward, who overthrew to third base trying to get an out on Alatraca. Alatraca scored on the errant throw to tie the game.
Steward made up for her error in the fifth inning when she clubbed a two-run home run to center field, making it 3-1 Bulldogs.
CV catcher Sydnee Wells homered to left-center in the sixth inning for the Falcons’ second run, and CV had several chances to tie or take the lead. But Brooks, who was flustered with the umpire’s strike zone all game, managed to find a way out of trouble every time. In the seventh and final inning, Cookson led off with a double, but Brooks recorded a strikeout, groundout and another strikeout to end the game.
Burbank is 13-0 entering the season finale today against Burroughs (12-1). The Bulldogs will win league outright if they beat the Indians. If it goes the other way, the teams will share the league championship.
CV looks like it will have its hands full today, playing a road game against its main rival. Arcadia (8-5 in league) had won three league games in a row before losing to Burroughs 5-0 on Tuesday. The Falcons previously beat Arcadia at home on April 23 by a score of 12-4.
Playoff seedings from the CIF will be released on Monday at 2 p.m.
Ashby Concludes Collegiate Career
Erin Ashby’s softball career at Stanford came to an end this week, as the Cardinal was swept by University of California in a three-game series that concluded the season. Stanford finished the season 17-37, and just 2-22 in Pac-12 conference play. Stanford will miss the postseason for the second straight season.
Ashby graduated from Crescenta Valley High School in 2011. As a pitcher and infielder, she helped the Falcons win three Pacific League titles, and was a league MVP and All-CIF player. Ashby, an infielder for Stanford, was forced into pitching after multiple injuries wreaked havoc on Stanford’s roster this season.
In 43 games this year, Ashby batted .280 with six home runs. She hit a grand slam in an April 18 loss against Oregon. She had five total RBIs in the game.