In its biggest series of the season, the Glendale Community College baseball team outscored College of the Canyons 22-11 on Tuesday and 9-2 on Thursday.
“This was a big series for us to win,” said first baseman Fernando Valenzuela Jr. “We were tied them, and Citrus was behind us too, and now we have a bit of a cushion.”
In the win on Thursday, Valenzuela hit three home runs en route to a school-record nine homeruns.
Valenzuela, who has 10 homeruns for the season, went 2-for-3 Thursday with two singles, an RBI and a run scored.
Glendale (28-11, 16-6) broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring five runs and increasing its lead to 9-2. Numbers two through four hitters Anthony Stabile, Valenzuela and Evan Shahak got consecutive one-out singles to start the inning; Shahak’s single scored Stabile. That was followed by a three-run home run by Chris Keeran, his fourth of the season, which knocked Canyons’ starting pitcher, Scott Sellz, out of the game.
Sellz pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs on 13 hits.
It was a different outcome for Glendale starting pitcher Jon Felfoldi. Felfoldi went seven innings, giving up two runs and striking out 11. It wasn’t easy, though. With Glendale leading 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Canyons (19-20, 14-8) got one-out singles by Francisco Enriquez, Luis Velazquez and Juan Guerrero to load the bases. Felfoldi got the next batter, designated hitter Jeff Mayberry, to hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Enriquez, and then struck out the following batter, Nick Encisco.
In the sixth inning, with GCC leading 3-1, Felfoldi led off the inning with back-to-back walks by Ryan Hawkins and Enriquez. He was able to get Velazquez to fly out to right field before giving up a single to Guerrero to load the bases again. Down 3-0 to the next batter, Mayberry, Felfoldi came back with three straight fastballs to get the strikeout and then ended the inning, forcing a fly out to the next batter Encisco.
“He was at his best when he needed to be,” said head coach Jon Strauss of Felfoldi. “He had a lot of jams
he self-created by missing his spots, but when he had to be good, he got out of there.”
Except for the fourth and sixth innings, Felfoldi, who improved his record to 9-1 and 6-0 in division play, allowed only two runners to reach second base.
“When you are in a situation with one out and the bases loaded, the other team gets fired up, and you have to make sure you hit your spots,” Felfoldi said.
With the win, Glendale needs to win three of its next five games to set a school record for wins, which it set a season ago.
“We’re kind of on a mission now,” said Strauss, who was the 2001 Western State Conference coach of the year. “Earlier, we didn’t have much attitude about us, but now I think we’re going in the right direction.”
Glendale scored its first run in the third inning on a one-out single by Stabile that scored Al Quintana who led off the inning with a double. The Vaqueros added two more in the fifth inning when Andrew Peterson scored on a wild pitch by Sellz, and Quintana scored on an RBI single by Valenzuela.
Quintana went 2-for-3 with a double and a single, and scored two runs.
Canyons scored their second run in the seventh inning on a groundball hit by Enriquez went through the legs of Glendale third-baseman Stabile.
The Vaqueros finish the season with two games against Valley College, and two games against Citrus College before the JC Regionals May 10-12.