Photos by Sal Polcino
The GCC Baseball team’s season ended after a 2-1 series loss to the Orange Coast College Pirates in the Super CCCAA Southern Super Regionals hosted by Glendale College at Stengel Field on Sunday.
With pitching coach Ivan Lopez filling in for Head Coach Chris Cicuto, the Vaqueros opened the series with a 13-0 blowout of the tenth-seeded Orange Coast College Friday.
Led by pitcher Ben McKendall, the Vaqueros prevented an opposing team from scoring for the second time this season.
However in game two on Saturday, runs became a premium for both teams.
The Vaquero defense held strong until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Orange Coast broke the 2-2 tie to take a 4-2 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The loss in game two set up a winner-take-all game two on Mother’s Day.
With the clouds gone and the sun shining bright, both teams came out swinging. Unfortunately, the swings did not translate to runs early on.
During the top of the fifth inning, however, Orange Coast pitcher Steven Corona scored the first run of the game with a solo homerun.
With a man on second, Jack Prescott of Orange Coast singled when Vaquero Brent Sakurai mishandled a ground ball, which required medics to ensure that he was not injured.
Although Sakurai appeared hurt, he was able to get up and continue playing.
In the seventh inning and with the bases loaded, relief pitcher Josh Maglangit threw a wild pitch that allowed all base runners to advance, making the score 2-0.
It wasn’t until the eighth inning that things began to unravel for the Vaqs.
With the bases loaded, Corona stepped up and gave his team two more runs with a two RBI double.
“That guy was a one-man wrecking crew today,” Cicuto said.
The two Pirates still on base allowed for James McLellen to add three more to the score with a three-run homerun.
The Vaqueros attempted to come back in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the lead was too large to overcome. The final score was 7-1.
“They capitalized on our mistakes,” Cicuto said.
After the game, Cicuto gathered the team near home plate to say some final words for their last game of the 2015 season.
“I told them to keep their heads up and not to get themselves down. They’ve had a hell of a year. And to finish what we do day in and day out. Be a Vaquero in every way,” he said.
In spite of the loss, Cicuto was still proud of his staff and his players.
“It’s been a season of battling adversity day in and day out,” he said. “Our guys overcame a lot of hard times. We got hot at the right time to win a conference championship the last day of the regular season. We did a great job this year.”
The Vaqueros finished the season with the ninth Western State Conference title in Glendale College’s history.
“Step by step, pitch by pitch, you just want to keep on playing,” he said.