Glendale slides into victory

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Hits don't always correlate to runs and vice versa — just ask the Glendale High boys' baseball team.

The Nitros never got their bats going Tuesday afternoon, mustering just three hits, but erratic pitching and costly errors from visiting La Cañada proved to be bigger factors in the teams' nonleague contest at Glendale High.

Glendale took advantage of mishaps committed by the Spartans, none looming larger than in the seventh inning of a tie ballgame. Two fielding errors helped load the bases and set the stage for a wild pitch that allowed Mark Garcia to slide in for the game-winning run of a tightly contested 4-3 Nitros victory in their season opener.

Garcia reached first base on a throwing error, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a rocket off the bat of Zach Fields that was mishandled by La Cañada's third baseman, loading the bases rather that serving as a double-play ball.

The wild pitch hit the backstop, giving Garcia enough time to slide headfirst and beat the catcher's tag for the game's fourth and final lead change.

"We capitalized on their mistakes, which is what we needed to do," said second-year Nitros Coach Jesus Osuna, who also received six solid innings from Daniel Aragon on the mound.

Aragon's counterpart, Sooa Chun, walked four and hit five Glendale batters before being pulled after walking in Glendale's third run with two outs in the third inning.

All four runs for the Nitros (1-0) came unearned with their first two runs coming off of a wild pitch and a hit batsman in the first and third innings, respectively — both tying the ballgame after the Spartans took one-run leads in the top half.

"Chun had some problems and was throwing the ball all over the place, but in spite of that, it didn't affect the game," said Spartans Coach Dennis Ballard, whose team fell to 2-1. "We didn't score the runs and we couldn't run as much as we would have liked."

The Spartans got the run back in the fifth and settled down after Glendale's two-run third inning, getting good relief pitching from Andrew Fisher, who struck out three in four innings, but was ultimately let down by his defense.

Aragon gave up nine hits to La Cañada batters in the no-decision, and walked three, but also had good defense behind him that caused the Spartans to leave seven runners in scoring position.

The junior also struck out six.

"He went deep enough into the game to let the bullpen finish it, and that's his job," Osuna said of his ace. "He kept the ball down and made adjustments when he needed to.

"I thought we were a little nervous at the plate, because we have hit better. But we took advantage of the opportunities that were given to us."

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