As the final double-play ends the inning, cheers and screams arise, and Glendale College repeats as Western State Conference (WSC) champions.
Pitcher Cory Popham struck out six as the Vaqueros defeated LA Mission 7-3 Tuesday night at Stengel Field, repeating as WSC champions.
“Cory has been everything that we have asked him for,” said Cicuto. “He really grew up this season. He grew into his own, he really became a dominant pitcher throughout the conference and I couldn’t be more happier for him.”
Popham pitched seven innings, allowing one run and three hits. He was pulled in the seventh after he was allowed his only run.
“It feels unbelievable, I’m just so happy for our coaching staff,” said head Coach Chris Cicuto. “Those guys worked their butts off for the last two years to create a team, to recruit a team for minimal pay. Our sophomores get a back-to-back championship. That’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Not only was the Vaqs’ pitching solid, but the bats came alive in the early innings of the game, giving Eagles’ pitcher, Ryne Kahikina, problems throughout the game.
Infielder Sergio Plasencia started the hitting with a double to center field in the first inning, creating a chain reaction. Edgar Montes soon followed, with a double of his own, driving in Palsencia. Montes would shortly be driven home when third baseman Ruben Padilla hit a inside the park homerun.
The Vaqs jumped out to a 3-0 in the first inning.
The Vaqueros’ scored two more runs in the second, when Cameron Gardner hit a one-run double. Gardner was able to make it to the plate when he was able to sneak by the Eagles’ defense. Making the score 5-0 after two.
The Vaqueros’ scored twice more, later in the game due to errors that the Eagles created.
“Our hitters have put in a lot of work before and after practice,” said Cicuto. “Our guys were just prepared and fired up. We were able to take advantage of good pitches and we hit the ball real well.”
With one game left in the regular season and the postseason looming, Cicuto is ready.
“Postseason is going to be a grind, I think with our pitching staff, that’s what has really put us in games,” he said. “If we continue to pitch I think we have a good chance to keep on doing this winning thing. I’m really liking it.”