Vaqueros end first day of season on a downer

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Errors are tough to overcome, especially when the opponent's starting pitcher is in the midst of a solid outing.

For the Glendale Community College softball team in particular, five unearned runs early marred a perfect first day of its host tournament and of the season.

The Lady Vaqueros won two of their three games Friday, losing in the nightcap to Grossmont College, 14-6.

"Errors will kill you," Glendale Coach Dave "Hawk" Wilder said. "Pitchers are pitching seven outs in an inning and that kills them."

Glendale's defense started things on the wrong foot for starting pitcher Jennifer Meza, who struck out the side in the first inning but only after an error allowed two Grossmont runners to score.

With her team trailing, 2-1, in the bottom of the second, Rachael Allen put the Vaqueros on top when she hit a rocket to left, which was misplayed by Grossmont's left fielder, letting Allen come all the way around to score right after Arelly Alvarez, who had reached first base on an error.

Trailing again in the third, Samantha Dickens hit a home run that cut the Grossmont lead to 5-4.

It was in the fourth, however, where the floodgates opened. Wilder replaced Meza with freshman Brandy Morin after two early walks in the inning.

Then, another error on the infield — this one on a potential double-play ball — had the bases loaded against Morin who gave up three runs by walking the next three batters before finally settling down and striking out the final two batters.

Glendale had Nicolby Atallah on the mound for the start of the fifth, but it didn't matter, as Grossmont kept piling on the runs, hitting three home runs for six more runs and a comfortable 14-4 advantage going into Glendale's final at-bat.

Grossmont only needed one pitcher in Mel Goff, who pitched a complete game, striking out six. Goff garnered wins in all three games for her squad.

"We have a young team, some of the players' first games in college," said Wilder, who also praised Goff. "Maybe they just wanted it more."

Brittany Wright went three for three, with two RBIs. One of the two came in the fifth inning, where the Vaqueros scored two runs but, ultimately, the gap proved to be too wide.

Meza and Morin each won their respective games earlier on in the day. Meza was the starting pitcher of the team's victory over Ventura, 4-3. Morin pitched a shutout against Rio Hondo in the season opener.

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