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Glendale Community College baseball sees outstanding season end

TORRANCE — A transition season had a bittersweet ending for the Glendale Community College baseball team.

With a new coach leading the charge and a group of freshmen players adjusting to the next level, Glendale got plenty accomplished. It included winning a division championship and making its deepest postseason run since 2011.

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Fourth-seeded Glendale looked to keep its bid alive and qualify for the California Community College Athletic Assn. state tournament when it took on No. 2 El Camino College in the second game of a best-of-three sectional tournament Saturday.

Though Glendale showed improvement from an opening-game loss in the tournament, its impressive season came to a close Saturday with a 7-3 defeat.

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Glendale, which won the Western State Conference East Division title, finished 30-17 after defeating No. 13 Santa Barbara and No. 7 San Diego Mesa in previous playoff series.

“I think the biggest things our guys showed during the season was growth and development,” said Glendale interim coach Alex Kocol, whose team started the sectionals Friday with a 14-2 defeat. “They gained a lot of experience that will help the returners and those moving on to the next level and that’s what you want to see.

“We definitely did a lot of good things and had a great season. We can learn a lot from playing El Camino and it will help us looking ahead to next season.”

El Camino, which will compete in the state tournament Friday through May 27 at Fresno City College, improved to 38-7. The Warriors, who won the South Coast Conference’s South Division crown before topping No. 15 Pasadena and No. 11 Cypress in earlier series, served as the road team Saturday.

El Camino built a 3-0 lead in the third inning before Glendale tied it at 3 in the fifth. The Warriors took a 4-3 lead in the eighth and scored three runs in the ninth to seal the win.

Jerry Granillo gave El Camino a 1-0 lead in the third with a run-scoring single. Later in the inning, a two-run double by Joseph Borges extended the lead to 3-0.

Glendale, which took part in the state tournament in 2011, responded by slicing the deficit to 3-1 on a RBI-single by Zach Lafata. A sacrifice fly to left by Casey Slattery brought the Vaqueros to within 3-2 before an error by the shortstop knotted it at 3.

El Camino took a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a sacrifice fly to center by Aaron Orozco. A two-run home run by Granillo in the ninth made it 6-3. A run-scoring single by Spencer Long later in the inning completed the scoring.

The Vaqueros loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth before Guillermo Pinedo got a strikeout to end the contest.

“We played a lot better today,” Glendale second baseman Lucas Sakay said. “It was so exciting just to get here and it’s a great experience.

“We faced three very good teams in the playoffs and it will make us better.”

Hans Seo, Michael Choi and Tom Tabak finished with two hits apiece for the Vaqueros, who had 10 hits.

El Camino received two hits each from Granillo, Borges and Taishi Nakawake.

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