The junior right-hander retired the first 16 batters she faced before Bridget Bacon touched her for an infield single with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. By that juncture, Ashby (3-2) was in complete control.
“We’ve been working on different pitches and [Crescenta Valley Coach Dan Berry] knows what to call,” said Ashby, who struck out the side in the fifth. “He knows what my strengths are and I was very focused out there.
“It’s a big confidence boost for me.”
Ashby did her part before her teammates picked it up offensively with a third-inning outburst. Crescenta Valley (6-3, 2-1 in league) scored all five of its runs in the third to deflate Hoover (3-6, 0-3).
Jessica Morena, Nicole Salas and Ashby opened with consecutive singles to load the bases against Hoover starting pitcher Christina Iezza (3-2).
The Falcons, who captured the league championship last season, then took a 1-0 lead on an error.
Crescenta Valley shortstop Alyssa Sovereign, who will attend Penn State next season, made it 2-0 on a fielder’s choice before Kelly Bako extended the lead to 3-0 with a run-scoring single. The Falcons, who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinals last season, capped the scoring barrage when Sydney House drove in two runs on a sacrifice fly to center.
“The bottom of our order got on base to start the inning, and they have been getting on all year,” Berry said. “We’ve also been doing well getting them in.
“Erin has worked hard to get where she’s at. She did well out there.”
Ashby and Salas finished with three hits apiece for the Falcons.
Hoover third-year Coach Rich Henning said the Tornadoes turned in their best effort against Crescenta Valley since he took over the program from Julie Hoppe. He also praised Ashby’s performance.
“She had a little bit of speed and location, and that’s the name of the game as far as pitching goes,” Henning said. “If you can’t get anybody on base, then it’s going to be tough.
“We brought our bats, but we didn’t know how to use them. The base hits that CV got, there was no defense for it. It’s the closest loss that we’ve had against them since I’ve been here, so we have to build on that.”
The teams will meet again at 3:30 p.m. May 3 at Crescenta Valley.