Vaqueros lose focus and momentum

WOODLAND HILLS — Glendale Community College's baseball team must have been able to taste the Western State Conference Southern Division title coming into Saturday's road game against L.A. Pierce.

Glendale was on a five-game winning streak, including a huge win over Pierce on Thursday, and had beaten the Brahmas in both of the teams' previous meetings this year. Saturday's winner would earn sole possession of first place in the division, as both squads were tied for first coming into the game.

The Brahmas rose to the occasion, forgetting the drubbing they had suffered Thursday to pull out a 6-3 win at home.

"This just shows our resiliency, we don't give up. We started at Inning One today and it's a whole new game," said Pierce Coach John Bushart, whose team was beaten, 18-9, on Thursday.

Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto said it all came down to focus.

"They showed up and we didn't show up as well as we wanted to," Cicuto said. "Pierce is a tough, tough team and they always have been. …They were definitely in it and made fewer mistakes than we did and that's what it comes down to."

The ball bounced the Brahmas' way in the bottom of the fourth inning, as they got two runners on with no outs to start the frame. Pierce's Fernando Gallegos laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners and Glendale's third baseman, Sako Chapjian, barehanded the ball and threw it across his body. First baseman, Nick Bozeman, couldn't handle the ball, as it bounced in front of him and went all the way to the fence. The error led to a five-run inning for Pierce and a 6-0 lead.

"We didn't play catch on that bunt situation," Cicuto said. "That was a big one and it led to the big inning that we always try to stay away from."

The Vaqueros (20-12, 11-8 in conference) had the chance to get back in the game, loading the bases in the sixth and seventh, but could only generate three runs and five hits in the game. Chapjian led Glendale's offense with four hits and one run batted in.

Ryan Santhon, Pierce's pitcher Saturday, cooled down Glendale's bats, after they had exploded for 18 runs two days earlier. He threw 6 1/3 innings, scattering four hits and six walks.

"It wasn't Thursday, it's Saturday," Cicuto said. "It's different circumstances, different umpire, different pitcher and Santhon's a bulldog and a competitor."

Glendale will have to get used to seeing that kind of performance on the mound, Cicuto said.

"Hopefully we can learn from this experience," he said. "If we want to make the playoffs we'll have to see guys like Santhon every single day. Hopefully we can use this and get better."

Both teams have two conference games left and the Vaqueros still have hope of capturing first place for good. They'll face Bakersfield in a two-game set on April 26 and 28. Pierce (19-12, 12-7) will square off against Citrus on April 26 and 28.

"We're still right there in second place and depending on what other guys do, who knows, we still might end up winning this," Cicuto said. "We just got to take this one game at a time."

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