By Brandon HENSLEY
The Crescenta Valley High School baseball team will have to ride the arm of someone other than Brian Gadsby on Friday, but no one should be complaining about that. The Falcons, after all, are on to the CIF Division II quarterfinals after they defeated Redlands East Valley 7-2 in the second round of the playoffs on Tuesday.
Gadsby, the team’s ace pitcher, has led the Falcons on the mound in their first two playoff games. He pitched a complete game against Damien, a 6-1 win on May 22 at Stengel Field, before getting the start again on Tuesday.
Repeating his past performance, Gadsby went all seven innings, this time on four days rest. He gave up three hits and struck out five.
“Arm soreness has never really [bothered me]. Four days rest was plenty of time,” Gadsby said.
It didn’t look good early on. Gadsby allowed two runs in the first inning, helped by a couple of errors from his defense.
“I think the whole team was lazy getting off a long bus ride and it was hot outside,” Gadsby said. “We needed an inning to get into the game and once the top of the second inning came, everyone’s picking me up saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get you some runs.’”
That promise came to fruition. After stranding a runner on third base in the first inning, the Falcons (21-7-1) scored lone runs in the second and third, three in the fourth and two in the fifth. Second baseman Nick Diaz collected three hits and a run batted in, and shortstop Ryan Lynch had a two-run single to help power the offense.
“Once we get one run, we know we’re going to be all right, now we’re just going to keep adding on,” Gadsby said.
Crescenta Valley has advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007. The team will play at Placentia Valencia in Anaheim on Friday, which defeated Vista Murrieta in the second round 4-3. CV lost the coin flip, so they will play on the road.
If the Falcons win on Friday, they move on to the semifinals on Tuesday. The championship game will be held at Dodger Stadium on June 6.
Redlands came in with a record in 22-5. They tied for first with Yucaipa with a 13-2 record in the Citrus Belt League.
“They definitely challenged us, and we don’t get intimidated. We don’t see their record,” said Gadsby, who went on to say the Falcons enjoy being the underdog and proving people wrong. “We’re an underestimated team. People don’t give us enough credit for being as good as we are.”
The Falcons have been good in recent years, just not good enough. They won their third straight Pacific League championship this season although this is the first of those years they won a playoff game. Last season in the first round against Yucaipa, Gadsby pitched a complete game but ended up losing 1-0.
Coach Phil Torres could have gone with either Tanner Carrico or Jimmy Smiley to pitch against Redlands, but told Gadsby on Monday he was going with him.
“I was excited all day at school, excited on the bus, just getting ready for the game,” he said.
Torres will have to go with either Carrico or Smiley on Friday. Gadsby has just three innings of CIF eligibility left this week – pitchers are allowed 10 innings per week – but he could be used in relief.
In softball, the Falcons’ team traveled to Santa Maria last week for a playoff game, which it lost. For the baseball team, the long journey was rewarded.
“We had our fun on the bus,” Gadsby said. “It would have been an awful ride home. Two and a half hours … luckily we got the victory.”