Glendale’s baseball team defeated Mt. San Antonio and Cypress College, but fell short in the last game of the CCCAA Baseball Southern Super Regional, losing to Orange Coast College, missing a chance to go back to the California Community College Athletic Association State playoffs.
After a playoff series victory against No. 12 seed San Diego Mesa, the Vaqueros participated in a four-team double elimination tournament from May 11 to 13.
The Vaqueros were two games away from entering the state championships and faced Orange Coast College, the nation’s No. 1 team.
The Vaqueros defeated Orange Coast in the first game, 6-3. Glendale closer Kirk Edson allowed 11 hits and three earned runs, but he pitched a complete nine innings.
“When you see a guy like KJ [Edson] for nine innings, it can be very frustrating on their part,” said head baseball coach Chris Cicuto. “He did a great job keeping us in the game.”
Edson’s offense supported the freshman pitcher early in the game. Center fielder Edgar Montes scored first for the Vaqueros in the third inning. Shortstop Matt McCallister’s sacrifice pop out to center field allowed Montes to tag third and reach home plate, safely tying the score at 1-1.
The Vaqs added another run in the fourth when first baseman Julian Jarrard hit a home run, clearing the left field wall.
The Vaqueros secured their victory when they made four more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Montes homered to left field scoring two runs, and Sergio Plasencia and Ruben Padilla added two more before the inning ended.
“Our offensive started to roll a little bit. Montes hit a home run and Jarrard hit a homerun and that sparked us,” said Cicuto. “We were on top of the world. We had a good look at it.”
With the win, Glendale had to play OCC again a half-hour later.
In the second game, OCC’s bats came alive and produced runs early and often throughout the game. Between the fourth and seventh innings, the Pirates were able to score at least three runs per inning, outscoring the Vaqueros 13-1. The final score of the game was 16-1.
“We came in to our fifth game in three days,” said Cicuto. “We knew that our bullpen was going to be worked. I think the Friday game overworked us just a little bit too much.”
On the second day of the tournament, the Vaqueros played back-to-back games. The first game was against Cypress College at Golden West college in Huntington Beach.
The Vaqueros fell behind to the Chargers 4-1 after the top of the seventh inning. But with the bases loaded, Cicuto put in Adam Ochart to pinch hit for the at bat.
With two strikes in the count, Ochart was found the right pitch, connected with the ball and cleared the left field wall for a grand slam
“We were fortunate enough to get into that situation with the bases loaded,” said Cicuto. “Adam has been our power guy all year long. Our hope was to put in our biggest, strongest guy in to put the barrel on the ball.”
The grand slam put the Vaqueros up 5-4, essentially winning the ball game.
With the win, the Vaqueros had to get back on the team bus and travel down to Costa Mesa to play an awaiting Mt. San Antonio College team that had beat the Vaqueros the previous Friday, 7-2.
However, it was a different story on Saturday.
Glendale defeated Mt. Sac 9-2. From start to finish, the Vaqueros’ bats came alive and scored early and often. Before Mt. Sac could get on the board, Glendale was already up three runs.
Plasencia and right fielder Cameron Gardner scored in the first inning. Another run was added in the second when Jarrard doubled to left center, bringing in McCallister.
Glendale’s starting pitcher David Lira pitched seven innings striking out four. He also allowed three hits and no earned runs.
“When you put David Lira on the mound, he’s probably one of the best competitors I’ve ever seen that has come through this program,” said Cicuto. “He really set the tone.”
Glendale baseball won’t be competing in the State playoffs this year, but the Vaqueros did repeat as Western State Conference Champions and went back to the Super regional play offs.
“Every year you build relationships with the players,” said Cicuto “You take a little bit with you when they leave as sophomores. It was great success and a lot of great stories involved amongst the team.”