By Justin HAGER
The CVHS Falcons varsity baseball team is finally back on the field following the interruption of last year’s season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Pacific League play didn’t begin until this week, the Falcons already have played a total of nine games in two tournaments and two non-league games.
The 2021 campaign kicked off with a 6-4 win over Alta Loma in the Pizza Chalet Tournament. In a promising sign of reliable top-to-bottom batting, the Falcons scored in all but one inning of the game. Game two of the tournament featured a defensive battle that ended in a heartbreaking 2-3 loss to the Walnut Mustangs in extra innings. Fortunately, after a four-day break, the Falcons bounced back and secured a 5-4 victory over.
After a difficult 7-3 loss to the San Dimas Saints on March 27, CVHS entered the final game of the Pizza Chalet Tournament against the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers, with a chance to finish with a winning record. Several hits and a stolen base by Falcon Rowan Respicio gave Brendon Pehar the opportunity to drive in two runs on a bases loaded single in the fourth inning to bring the game to within one run. However, after giving up only one run in the fifth, a Falcon throwing error and a decision to go for an unlikely out brought in three more for the Trailblazers in the sixth. A Falcon rally in the seventh inning came up short, scoring two runs for CVHS and giving the Trailblazers an 8-4 victory.
Next up was the Babe Herman Tournament. The first game of the tournament on April 3 against the Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula Panthers was a beautiful night at Stengel Field and the most exciting game of the season thus far for the Falcons. The Panthers jumped out to an early lead scoring two runs in the first inning. Then, in the third, a pair of walks, a pair of stolen bases, and a pair of wild pitches scored two more for the Panthers, without a single hit in the inning. But CVHS entered the fourth inning ready to fight back. After a leadoff single by Emilio Velis followed by a walk, two squeeze bunts by Evan Aceytuno and Nico Terenzi, and two RBI rip down the third base line by Respicio, they took the lead and entered the fifth inning with a 5-4 lead.
Then it was Peninsula’s turn to fight back and, as the CV entered the bottom of the seventh and their last at-bat of the game, they trailed by one run. Fortunately leadoff batter Velis rifled a single and pinch runner Mason Faunce stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. Perfectly executed sacrifice flies by Pehar and Robert “RJ” DeLeon tied the game and sent it to extra innings.
The excitement continued in extra after Falcon right fielder Noah Maddox made an outstanding throw home in an attempt to save a run, but a questionable call by the home plate umpire allowed the run to score, once again putting CVHS at a deficit and facing their final at-bat. After getting hit by a pitch, Respicio stole second, one of four steals he would have on the night. He scored on a wild pitch on the next batter to tie the game once again. It would take another three innings for the Falcons to secure the victory when, with bases loaded and two outs, CV’s Jameson Ferraro hit a game winning deep fly ball single to left field to score Respicio from third base. The final score was Falcons 9, Panthers 8.
Since then the Falcons have gone 1-and-2 with a win over El Camino in the final game of the Babe Herman Tournament to bring their tournament record even at 2-and-2. Overall, Crescenta Valley High School has a 4-and-5 record with their first Pacific League game, against Hoover High School, scheduled to occur at the same time this article was going to press. Pacific League games are scheduled for most Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. and most Fridays at 7 p.m. Visit http://cvfalconsbaseball.homestead.com/Varsity-Spring-Game-Schedule.html for exact game times and locations.