Cicuto, Spear draw big honors from CCCAA

GLENDALE — In the aftermath of its most successful season, a pair of prestigious accolades were bestowed upon the Glendale Community College baseball team.

The Vaqueros accomplished plenty throughout their benchmark season, which included winning the Western State Conference's Southern Division championship and advancing to the California Community College Athletic Assn. State Championships final round for the first time in the program's history.

Glendale college earned a pair of honors, as Coach Chris Cicuto was named the Southern California All-American Team's Coach of the Year and sophomore outfielder Sean Spear earned a spot on the All-Southern California Team.

The Vaqueros (29-16, 13-8 in the division) won their first division title since 2002 and sixth since 1980 before advancing through the regional and super regional rounds of the CCCAA postseason.

"It's super humbling and something I could never ask for," Cicuto said. "That honor came because I'm surrounded by good players and coaches.

"We have one of the best coaching staffs around and I'm grateful to have had players who did something special by getting all the way to state. Who knows when this will happen again?

"We all worked hard and we got a lot of compliments from the other coaches [during the postseason] saying how they liked what we did with the local guys."

Glendale began its surge around the middle of division competition. It captured the division championship on the final day of the regular season with an 8-2 win against Bakersfield College at Stengel Field.

The Vaqueros then lost the first game of their regional round against visiting Cypress before winning the next two games to advance to the super regional at Rio Hondo College. They swept their three contests in that round to move to state. GCC's season came to a close in the double-elimination tournament with a 7-3 loss to eventual-champion San Joaquin Delta on May 21 at Bakersfield College.

One of the players responsible for helping the Vaqueros go deep into the postseason was Spear, a center fielder who transferred to Glendale from USC.

Spear, who missed last season because of a reoccurring back injury, provided the Vaqueros with a steady bat in the middle of the lineup and rangy defense in center. He was a dual-enrolled student this season at Glendale college and USC.

Overall, Spear batted .355 (49-138) with four home runs and 28 runs batted in for the Vaqueros. He also collected five doubles and seven triples.

Spear batted a fifth-best .382 in conference with two home runs, 16 runs batted in, 14 runs scored and four doubles. He led the conference with a .706 slugging percentage and six triples.

"When I first found out that I was named to the all-conference team, I thought that was a pleasure and an honor," Spear said. "To get All-Southern California was a shock and I'm very humbled and honored.

"I accept this as a team award because they deserve it, too, for the amount of hard work they put into it. I knew Coach Cicuto when I played at L.A. Pierce [in 2009] and I knew he was a good coach back then.

"He is such an amazing man and he knows a lot about baseball. More importantly, he's always had the well-being of the team at heart and it's good to see him get his award."

Cicuto said Spear provided an invaluable presence to the team.

"I knew about him being a good player because he's got the speed and hit a lot of doubles," Cicuto said. "The beginning of the season was a little tough for him while trying to get back into shape.

"Once we hit conference, he started getting a lot of extra-base hits and his power numbers rose. He hit for the cycle in one game. He's a winner and he's very confident in all aspects of the game. Without him, who knows where we would be?"

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