PASADENA — For seven innings, Crescenta Valley High junior pitcher Brian Gadsby was strong on the mound and his defense was flawless behind him.
The Falcons’ bats were chiming, as well, but runs were hard to come by in a first-place showdown with host Pasadena.
That changed from the fifth inning on, as the Falcons put together six runs over the final three innings to hand the Bulldogs their first league loss and force a three-way tie atop the league standings.
“We’ve been waiting for this game,” said Gadsby, whose Falcons improved to 13-7 and 6-1 in league and have won six straight after a league-opening loss to Pasadena at home on April 1. “Since that opening loss at home on a Tuesday, we’ve been marking this one on the calendar.”
Gadsby went the distance, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out 10.
In contrast, Pasadena (14-4-1, 6-1), which is now also tied with Arcadia (6-1) in first, used five pitchers.
“Every game I pitch, that’s my mentality,” said Gadsby, a reigning All-Area first-teamer in baseball and football, of going the distance. “I’m not going out until I’m at 150 pitches or the game’s over, win or loss.
“I came out thinking this is my game.”
The Falcons pounded out 15 hits, with Bryan Wang (two hits, run batted in), Michael Russo (three hits, stolen base), Kewin Ledesma (two hits, hit by pitch, RBI, run), Joe Torres (two hits, walk), Nick Diaz (two hits, run) and Ryan Lynch (two hits, run) all producing multiple hits and every Falcons starter notching a hit.
“I knew this game was gonna be tough,” said Bulldogs Coach Mike Parisi, whose team had an 11-game unbeaten streak snapped. “They had some great at-bats today. That was more hits than we’ve given up all season.
“They were the better team today, by far.”
Crescenta Valley struck first in the top of the fifth with two runs, but Pasadena tied it in the bottom half of the inning. After producing what would be the game-winning run in the sixth, the Falcons sealed the game with a three-run sixth inning.
“That was a killer,” Parisi said.
Through the first four innings, Crescenta Valley stranded seven runners, but finally scratched out two runs in the fifth without a hit, much less a ball leaving the infield.
Adrian Damla led off by reaching on an error. Then, with one away, Ledesma was hit by a pitch. After a balk advanced the runners to second and third, Brines scorched a ball to the second baseman, who smothered it and came home with the throw, but Damla slid in safely.
The second run came when Brines, who looked to be hung out to dry in an attempt to steal second, drew a throw. But the second baseman bobbled the throw from the catcher and Ledesma scored from third. A pitch later, Brett Klein singled for the only hit of the inning.
The game took just under three hours to complete and the top of the fifth was one of the longer stanzas.
Pasadena then opened the bottom of the fifth with a two-strike double by Andrew Lathouwers.
“That’s a great 0-2 hit,” Falcons Coach Phil Torres said.
Lathouwers later scored on a two-out infield single. Another infield single followed and a bloop to right field scored the final run of the stanza to tie it at 2, but Gadsby tagged out a runner to record the final out on the play.
“It was a long half-inning, but I’m good with long half-innings, because that means we’re scoring runs,” said Gadsby when asked if the long respite with his team at the plate hindered his game. “There was no excuse for that.”
Thereafter, Gadsby was unhittable, sitting down the final six batters in order over two perfect innings, striking out the final two batters.
“Great job by Brian [today],” Phil Torres said.
While Gadsby was controlling things on the bump, he did so with a lead.
With two outs, the Falcons brought across the game-winning run in the sixth. Damla started with a single to right field and Russo followed with a single to center. Ledesma then singled to left to score pinch-runner Kevin Hello.
“We’ve been working so hard on not popping it up,” said Phil Torres, whose team has struggled at times with runners on the bases. “Their biggest hits today were one-hoppers.”
A sharp single to center field with one out by Joe Torres began the seventh-inning barrage.
Two infield singles followed before Wang singled to right to score pinch-runner Chase Walker for a 4-2 lead. Then Lynch and Diaz came around for the final tallies on an error at second base.
With seven games remaining on the league slate, it’s clearly anybody’s ballgame going forward.
“I’m really happy with the situation. We’re tied now and we don’t have to see [Crescenta Valley] again,” Parisi said. “These kids just have to keep grinding. We’ve got a long way to go.”
While Pasadena has rival Muir, which is winless in league, on Friday and has already defeated Arcadia once, Crescenta Valley plays Arcadia Friday for the first time.
“Now we’ll have some fun,” Phil Torres said. “Every [game] is [big] now.”
Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.