They finally beat rival Arcadia, and host first-round playoff game this afternoon.
By Brandon HENSLEY
It was reminiscent of a high school graduation scene, but instead of students throwing their caps in the air and hugging, it was players of the CV baseball team throwing their gloves and dog piling on each other.
Indeed, it was a cause for celebration at Stengel Field last Friday night because, in beating Arcadia 7-0, the Falcons became the outright Pacific League champions.
Thanks to some timely hitting and a dominating performance from starting pitcher Kyle Murray, the ghosts for this group of seniors were finally expelled. For once, it was them as champions, not Arcadia.
The Apaches had won league from 2009 to 2011, and had won seven straight against the Falcons overall. CV won league in 2008, but seniors such as Elliot Surrey and Murray were still in middle school.
“When I was in eighth grade, CV I remember had a long tradition of winning league championships,” said Murray. “It was almost like the Yankees. I got here and we kind of struggled a bit, so I think as a senior, I think all of the seniors wanted to leave our own mark. We didn’t want to lose to those guys.”
CV (20-7, 12-2 in league) did lose to Arcadia (19-7, 10-4) earlier this season 1-0, but Falcon Coach Phil Torres told his team to keep pressing and it might get a shot at the end of the year.
“It’s a long season and I told them after we lost that tough game over there we just have to do whatever it takes to get one more chance, one more chance,” Torres said. “The kids got their chance. It’s a great thing. Tonight they’ll remember.”
Murray was the one who took the mound Friday, and barely allowed the Apache offense to breathe. He threw a complete game, allowing just two hits, and striking out nine.
“I wasn’t going to come out of the game, not even if my arm was going to fall off,” he said.
Torres praised catcher Cam Silva in how he handled Murray.
“Kyle’s not easy to catch, you know, that’s a firm breaking ball. The difference with Kyle tonight is he got ahead and he pounded the strike zone, and then that breaking ball is pretty tough when he’s ahead in the count.”
The Falcons scored seven runs on nine hits, although early on they weren’t exactly mashing the ball. Surrey got things started in the first inning with a one-out double off starting pitcher Erik Trask. CV loaded the bases but only scored once in the inning when the third baseman fielded Troy Prasertsit’s grounder with two outs and couldn’t make it to the bag to force out Troy Mulcahey, allowing Surrey to score.
Things opened up in the fifth when CV scored four runs on just two hits. Trask walked in a run with the bases loaded, and his day was done. His replacement, Andrew Cordeiro, allowed three more runs to score, which included a catcher’s interference call that Torres argued, allowing Michael Russo to score from third. Later, Silva singled up the middle to make it 5-0, and that was plenty for Murray.
“That was a big load off my chest,” Murray said of the big inning. “Usually we play a lot of tight games.”
CV added one run in each of the next two innings. The offensive star of the night was Silva, who had three hits and three runs batted in.
Murray struck out the final batter in the seventh, Daniel Haft, and the celebration was on. Torres said the win was extra sweet “because they’re league champs. It’s always better when you beat the league champs.”
CV hosts Tustin High today at 4:15 p.m. in its first round playoff game.