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Rain doesn't stop Glendale college baseball in conference win

GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College baseball team didn’t let rain ruin its winning streak, as Mother Nature pounded Stengel Field during the Vaqueros’ Western State Conference East Division matchup Thursday against Barstow.

Trailing by a run entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Vaqueros offense heated up, and with bases loaded, sophomore catcher Michael Choi brought home the tying run.

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Glendale went on to score five runs in the bottom of the seventh to earn an 11-6 win, as the game was called after seven innings.

“The condition wasn’t really in our favor, either way, but this team is great at coming back,” Choi said. “There’s been five games where we’ve come back — always pulling together.

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“Recently, we’ve been improving on coming together as a team, rather than just individual players trying to force it out. I think, as a team, we’re just prepared better, physically and mentally.”

Choi reached first on a fielder’s choice that left runners on the corners with the game tied at 6. Sophomore outfielder Tom Tobak delivered a one-out bunt that brought home the go-ahead run for the 7-6 Glendale lead courtesy of Hans Seo.

Freshman Trent MacKinney followed with a two-run triple to center to bring home Choi and Tobak to make it 9-4.

A pair of singles from St. Francis graduate Christian Muro and freshman Sammy Martinez scored another pair of runs to set up an 11-6 result. .

“Third time through the lineup, fourth time through the lineup, guys started making adjustments and I think that’s something that we do a good job of,” Glendale interim coach Alex Kocol said. “We’re really proud of them for doing those adjustments.

The victory stretches the Vaqueros’ winning streak to five games, and Glendale (15-8, 7-1 in conference) strengthened its hold on first place.

“I think this program expects to win every game,” Kocol said. “Last year, we had a big 13-run inning against Pasadena in the Super Regionals, so the history of the program in the past 10 years has been these really kind of never-say-die teams and I think this is one of those groups.”

Choi and MacKinney both registered three hits, drove in a pair of runs, and scored two runs. Seo and Martinez each recorded two hits and two run batted in, while Alex Mills, Muro and Tobak each drove in a run.

Glendale sophomore right-handed pitcher Dexter Wilkerson relieved starter Ethan Durant in the third and went the final five innings. Durant surrendered a pair of runs, two hits, two strikeouts and two walks in his two innings on the mound.

Wilkerson gave up four unearned runs on three hits, walked five and struck out four. The sophomore produced three 1-2-3 innings, but the Vikings got to him at the top of the sixth once the rain started to come down.

“I was able focus zone early with the fastball,” Wilkerson said. “Then when I got later in the counts, I was able to bring out my breaking ball, which has been helping me all year. I was able to keep them off-balance. Ran into a little trouble in the tight zone, but overall, ended up doing a good job.

Barstow (13-12, 3-4) opened the scoring at the top of the second with two runs.

Glendale loaded the bases in the third and brought home four runs to take a 4-2 lead.

Wilkerson preserved the two-run lead until the Vikings drove in two runs to tie it at 4 with two outs in the sixth. With runners on second and third, the Vikings tallied another pair to take a 6-4 lead in Wilkerson’s longest inning of the game.

Mills drove in a run on a two-out bunt single to cut the Barstow lead to 6-5 in the sixth before the Vaqueros rallied the following inning.

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