GLENDALE — Absent of any raucous celebration or much fanfare, Crescenta Valley High’s baseball team promptly assured itself a share of the Pacific League title with a 5-0 victory over host Hoover on Tuesday.
“It was more, ‘Get things done,’” said Falcons starting pitcher Tanner Carrico of the team’s mindset entering the game. “This is a great win, but tomorrow you have to get back after it.”
Pivotal and pleasantly surprising as it was, when Crescenta Valley found out Friday that Arcadia had lost to Burroughs, leaving it alone in first place in league, the Falcons quickly received text messages from skipper Phil Torres telling the team to keep its focus.
And now, the focus of Crescenta Valley (18-7-1, 11-1-1) is squarely on Arcadia (10-2-1) again with a Friday night showdown at Stengel Field. Should the Falcons win, the league title is all theirs, but an Arcadia victory would force a shared title.
“We wanted to get the win and that’s what we got,” said Falcons senior Michael Russo of his impression of Tuesday’s victory. “We got our goal accomplished. That’s all that matters. We just gotta take care of Friday.”
For Hoover (12-11, 5-8), which entered play Tuesday a game behind Burroughs for fourth place in league and the last automatic postseason spot, its playoff aspirations are still long, but were aided when Pasadena defeated Burroughs (12-12, 6-7) on Tuesday, 6-2.
As for his squad, Hoover Coach Brian Esquival couldn’t be all that upset after a hard-fought loss to the league champs.
“That’s a good team over there,” Esquival said of the Falcons, who swept the season series. “We showed we can play with these teams, that’s a plus.
“I think what we’re hoping for now is to win Friday [against Glendale] and hope for that at-large [berth].”
On Tuesday, though, Hoover’s hopes of offense were quelled by Carrico.
Crescenta Valley’s offense took a while to get going, scoring runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but Carrico was on his game from the onset.
“I felt like they would eventually come,” said Carrico of the Falcons’ runs. “I felt like I did an average job; could’ve been better.”
But the results really couldn’t have been much better.
The senior right-hander went the full seven for the shutout, facing one over the minimum, allowing one hit and one walk, while striking out seven.
“You tip your cap to him, he threw really well,” Esquival said of Carrico.
Hoover’s Jonathan Ramos chopped a single over second base in the second for Hoover’s lone hit, but he was thrown out stealing. The Tornadoes’ other base runner came when JP Gallegos drew a leadoff walk in the sixth.
Hoover starter Thomas Hall held the Falcons at bay early on as well. The senior lefty held the Falcons hitless until the fourth inning, when Russo (three hits, three runs, RBI) led off with a single and freshman Kewin Ledesma (three hits, run, RBI) followed with a double down the third-base line. Russo broke the shutout when he scored on a groundout to shortstop by Austin Brines (two hits) and Ledesma scored the ensuing at-bat on a Chase Walker sacrifice fly.
Crescenta Valley collected another run in the sixth when a Joe Torres single through third base plated Russo. Still, it was a bit of a victory for Hoover, as the lead stood at 3-0 and the Tornadoes left the Falcons with the bases load.
Crescenta Valley closed out the win in the seventh, though, with a triple to left field by Russo scoring pinch-runner Kevin Hello and Russo scoring on a sacrifice fly by Ledesma.
Now, the Falcons look to close out an outright title a season after sharing it with Burbank.
Said Russo: “We still have to win Friday.”
Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.