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Falcons storm into title game

Baseball: Crescenta Valley breaks game open early to clinch Babe Herman championship berth.

April 10, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Even though the Crescenta Valley High baseball team had led Sherman Oaks Notre Dame since the first inning of Tuesday night's Babe Herman Tournament semifinal at Stengel Field, the Falcons were still lacking a big hit with runners on base to break the game open through the first three frames.

Michael Russo changed all that with a bases-loaded line-drive off the Knights first baseman's glove that scored two runs and sparked a four-run third inning. The floodgates were then opened for a five-run fourth and ultimately a lopsided 12-4 win for Crescenta Valley, which went 3-0 to win the National Division and will meet American Division winner Chatsworth in the tournament championship at 7 p.m. tonight.

"We're getting to play games, it's been huge," Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres said of the Falcons' newfound momentum, which has seen the team go 7-1 since getting back from a two-week break on March 23. "We had those huge gaps in our schedule, so it was so frustrating. Playing helps and pitching well helps, too."

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Kyle Murray gave up three earned runs on three hits in six innings for the Falcons (10-4), who were led by four hits in four at-bats from first baseman Elliot Surrey (three runs scored), as well as big offensive nights from shortstop Cole Currie (two for three with five runs batted in) and Russo (two for four with three RBI and two runs).

As the Falcons' run of success has swelled, so has its offensive prowess, which has rallied from a slow start to average better than 12 runs per contest in the tournament, including Monday night's 16-2 win over Redondo Union.

"Once we hit, we're going to hit and the past two teams [we've played] have paid the price for it," Currie said.

The Falcons' promise to start the third — two runners aboard on a walk to Bryan Wang and a single by Surrey — was dimmed by a double play, but the Falcons rekindled the rally with back-to-back walks to Troy Prasertsit and Ted Boeke to load the bases.

Russo followed with the Falcons' first hit with runners in scoring position to plate Surrey and Prasertsit. Russo stole second and scored along with Boeke when Currie dumped a two-run single into center field to make it 6-1.

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