Garcia, Vaqueros come through

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — From the bottom of the second inning and beyond, Diana Garcia could see improvement with respect to her body of work.

Garcia, normally a second baseman for the Glendale Community College softball team, made her first pitching appearance in more than a month Monday afternoon.

The sophomore struggled throughout the first two innings, but she regained her composure in a big way inside the circle and with her bat.

Garcia allowed one hit in the final five innings and hit a key two-run home run to power Glendale college to a 10-4 nonconference victory against Pasadena City College at the Glendale Sports Complex.

Garcia (2-0) retired the final 11 batters she faced to get the Vaqueros (13-8) back on track after a 1-0 Western State Conference Blue Division road loss to L.A. Mission College on Thursday.

Glendale college Coach Dave “Hawk” Wilder gave Garcia a rare start, mostly because the Vaqueros have a divisional road doubleheader at 1 p.m. today against College of the Canyons.

The move appeared to backfire at first, as Pasadena City College (10-15) scored four runs in the first two innings against Garcia. Garcia, a right-hander, overcame her early struggles.

“You have to work out the kinks when you aren’t pitching often,” said Garcia, who yielded four runs and four hits in the first two innings. “I adjusted fine.

“I had my screwball working, and you have to do what the coach says.”

Garcia fared well at the plate, too.

She had a first-inning sacrifice fly to knot the game at 1 before she hit a two-run home run off of Pasadena City College starting pitcher Melissa O’Connor (7-12) to give the Vaqueros a 5-4 lead.

Garcia lined her home run down the left-field line that Pasadena City College left fielder Vanessa Vasquez tried to spear while diving. The ball rolled to the outfield fence for an inside-the-park home run, her first on the season.

“I knew it would be fair, and then I saw [Vasquez] dive late,” said Garcia, who later added a run-scoring single in the sixth inning to close out the scoring. “Then I knew the ball would roll.

“I felt confident at the plate. Our team executed great, so it’s a win for all of us.”

Wilder said he wondered when the Vaqueros would snap out of their hitting funk.

“We are a Jekyll and Hyde team,” Wilder said. “If we don’t hit, we don’t [win].

“Scoring one run a game is killing us. We should be better than we are. Diana’s a major second baseman, but I wanted to see how she’s feeling [about pitching]. It’s a game she wanted to win.”

The Vaqueros received one home run apiece from freshman first baseman Krista Smith in the third and freshman center fielder Debbie Martin in the fifth. Both were lead-off home runs.

Glendale college finished with 10 hits, including four singles in a row in the sixth by Glendale High graduate Melissa Legaspi, Jocelyn Pedraza, Kelly Korras and Garcia. Legaspi and Martin contributed two hits each.


 CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or charles.rich@latimes.com.

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