GLENDALE — It proved to be a learning experience during the first week of the season for the Glendale Community College softball team.
Under the tutelage of first-year coach Sal Pizzo, the Vaqueros played three ranked teams in Southern California. Though Pizzo’s squad lost the final two games of the week Saturday, including a 10-0 defeat against powerhouse Santiago Canyon in a finale of the David “Hawk” Wilder Memorial Tournament, he said the Vaqueros made some progress.
“If you told me that we’d go 3-2 in our first five games, I’d take it,” said Pizzo, who served as an assistant the past six years under Wilder, who died in June after coaching the Vaqueros from 2001-13. “We played three ranked teams (Cerritos, Long Beach and Santiago Canyon).
“We had a tough time fielding the ball [against Santiago Canyon} and we had to shift our infield around because of an injury to [shortstop] Jocelyn Zavala. We took a step back, but it’s a game that we can take a lot of things from and continue to learn.”
The game against Santiago, ranked ninth in the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Assn. preseason poll, was called after the fifth inning because of the mercy rule. Unfortunately for the Vaqueros, they finished with five errors to help pave the way for the Hawks (5-0). Santiago Canyon picked up tournament victories against San Diego Mesa, Ventura and Rio Hondo before meeting Glendale.
Earlier Saturday, the Vaqueros suffered a 10-7 loss against Rio Hondo in five innings. Glendale opened the tournament Friday with victories against Victor Valley and Long Beach.
The Hawks grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a groundout by Jordan Diaz. A throwing error by the Glendale pitcher gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead in the second inning and they made it 3-0 on a groundout by Krista Carranza.
Santiago Canyon then received a two-run inside-the-park home run from McRae Clayton to extend the lead to 5-0 in the third. An error by the Glendale second baseman made it 6-0 in the fourth before Sydney Abounassar capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-0.
The Hawks closed out the scoring with three runs in the fifth. A run-scoring single by Diaz made it 8-0. Clayton then had a two-run triple to make it 10-0.
Santiago Canyon starting pitcher Carly Wade struck out nine and limited the Vaqueros to a pair of hits.
The Vaqueros received singles from Jessica Morena in the second and Cassidy Clark in the fifth.
“[Wade] pitched well and they defended well,” Pizzo said. “When you play against a team like that, it sets the bar for you.
“We’ve got a pretty young team, but I see more positives than I do negatives.”
Morena (Crescenta Valley High) said the Vaqueros will look to regroup.
“All we can do is stick together,” Morena said. “We will look to make some mental notes and get back to making the routine plays.
“From this game, you just crumple the paper and throw it behind you. We have to keep a calm and collective mind.”
Against Rio Hondo, the Vaqueros got a three-run home run from Rebecca Hernandez in the fourth to close to within 10-6. Zavala finished with a pair of hits for Glendale.
Glendale will next participate in a nonconference home doubleheader at noon Saturday at the Glendale Sports Complex against College of the Desert, ranked seventh in Southern California.