Vaqs on a Roll Heading into Conference Play

HE’S SAFE: Outfielder Christian Montes slides safely into second on an RBI double in the first inning of the March 1 game against Bakersfield at Stengel Field.

Ken Allard

HE’S SAFE: Outfielder Christian Montes slides safely into second on an RBI double in the first inning of the March 1 game against Bakersfield at Stengel Field.

Fresh into the season the Glendale baseball team is off to an excellent start as it prepares for conference play.

“We should be the top of our conference,” said pitcher Marco Quintanar. “The way we’re playing right now and the way the team is coming along I think we should do pretty well coming into conference”

Going into the first conference game against Citrus on March 9, the Vaqs won four straight after a victory Saturday against Moorpark. The high expectations of last year’s 28-10 record and winning the conference has the team primed for back-to-back repeats as champs.

The Vaqs jumped out to an early lead against Moorpark, scoring five runs in the first and never looked back. They continued their scoring ways by putting up even more runs in the second, third, and fourth innings. To put the icing on the cake the team scored four more runs in the eight. Scoring 14 runs by way of 13 hits was a sure sign of offense being alive in the game.

Glendale began the winning streak on Feb. 27, with a 3-2 victory over Oxnard, which the Vaqs faced again on March 2. In the second game, Glendale had a slow start going down one two three in the first and second innings. They were able to start a two out rally in the third. The pressure by the Vaqs was unbearable because the Condors made pricey infield errors in the third allowing runners to score.

The Condors allowed another run to score by walking a man with the bases loaded. The Condors wereits own enemy. But the opponent wasn’t going to give up that easily. They managed to score a couple of runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Then in the bottom of the fifth, the opponents tied the game on a RBI groundout to the shortstop. The comeback was complete.

Rattled but unstirred, the Vaqs responded with runs of their own in the sixth and seventh making their lead three runs once again. It was just too much to handle for Oxnard as it was unable to score any more runs for the rest of the game. The final score: Condors 3, Vaqueros 6.

Against Bakersfield on March 1, the Vaqueros drew first blood, en route to a 3-2 victory, by scoring a run in the first. But the Renegades battled back and tied the game in the sixth inning.

Glendale was able to extend its lead in the sixth by scoring two more runs, but Bakersfield managed to produce one more run in the eighth to make it all come down to one pitch.

With runners on first and second and two outs, relief pitcher James Giambalvo faced his toughest challenge. He would either load the bases which would make things that much more stressful or we could all go home with the Vaqs getting the W.

Giambalvo launched a strike and the game ended in dramatic fashion.

He did a remarkable job closing the game, but he was not alone. Starting pitcher Quintanar was impressive throughout the game.

Oxnard made decent hits off Quintanar, and they had opportunities to do some real damage. But the runners would be left stranded because Quintanar would immediately retire the upcoming batters and work himself out of the jam.

To handle that much pressure and have trust in your teammates to make a play wasn’t an easy feat.

“I had to keep my composure I had to make sure I was breathing properly, especially when I had bases loaded and one out,” Quintanar said. “I stepped off the mound found a focal point way out in the mountains and I kept my composure. I had to breathe. Breathing is key.”

Head Coach Chris Cicuto shared after the game that success early in the season is key to setting the tempo for the rest of the year. Cicuto emphasized that the expectations for the remainder of the season is to instill academic success. He continued to point to success in the classroom as being the biggest focus as a unit.

“Our process is just basically trying to win one pitch one inning one game at a time,” Cicuto said. “Every play is worth doing and making sure you apply maximum effort at all times. Making sure you’re battling it out and not just that but winning in the process.”