Big effort lifts Vaqueros

GLENDALE — Toshiteru Fujisaku had a performance that most No. 9 hitters would dream of having.

Plate appearances have been hard to come by for the Glendale Community College baseball player throughout the season, but he hasn’t let it deter him from making the most of any opportunity handed to him by Coach Chris Cicuto.

Fujisaku enjoyed his biggest moment of the season Thursday afternoon, as he hit a pair of three-run home runs and drove in seven runs to carry Glendale college to a 13-6 Western State Conference victory against rival College of the Canyons at Stengel Field.

Entering Thursday’s contest, Fujisaku, a left fielder, had three plate appearances. He came through when the Vaqueros (11-11 and 3-6 in conference) needed him the most. He homered in the bottom of the third inning to cut Canyons’ lead to 4-3 before accomplishing the same feat in the third to give the Vaqueros a 7-4 advantage.

“I was focused and relaxed,” said Fujisaku, who later delivered a run-scoring single in the fifth to extend Glendale college’s lead to 8-4. “I also knew that I had to stay patient.

“I knew both balls that I hit were home runs.”

Fujisaku must have been a source of inspiration for the Vaqueros, who saw Canyons (12-7, 6-3) score four runs on five hits in the top of the second.

Cicuto said Fujisaku, who hails from Yokohama, Japan, provided Glendale college with a spark after he hit a 2-1 pitch from Canyons starting pitcher Charlie Gillies for his first homer.

“It’s his second start of the year and he got some pitches he could hit,” Cicuto said. “Obviously, we didn’t expect it but we’ll take it.

“Now, I’ll have to send him back out there Saturday.”

Glendale college broke the game open when Hoover High graduate Sako Chapjian hit a grand slam on an 0-1 pitch to make it 13-6 in the seventh.

The Vaqueros, who didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season, saw Jason Ochart, Hong Ahn and David Park finish with three hits each.

Glendale starting pitcher Joe Stephen (3-2) picked up the win. The right-hander went six innings, allowing five runs. Reliever Benjamin Gass got his first save.

“Stephen came back after giving up a crooked number,” Cicuto said. “COC is always going to have a very talented team, and we pitched well.”

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