NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College softball team might have found itself a bona fide clean-up hitter in Jennifer Nguyen.
Glendale college Coach Dave "Hawk" Wilder said Nguyen's ability to be selective and work deep counts will likely help stabilize the lineup.
Nguyen had three hits, drove in a pair of runs and stole home Friday night to lead Glendale to a 6-5 victory against Grossmont in a pool-play contest of the seventh annual Vaquero Softball Classic at the Glendale Sports Complex. The game was called in the top of the sixth because of the tournament-imposed 1 hour, 45-minute time limit.
"She got three hits and you just have to watch her approach at the plate," said Wilder, whose team opened with pool-play wins earlier against Rio Hondo and Pasadena City College and will next compete in an elimination game at 1 p.m. today against a team to be determined. "It's an aggressive approach and she can use all parts of the field because she's got that prescence.
"She's a perfect clean-up hitter for us."
Nguyen, a freshman, came through with a two-run single up the middle to give the Vaqueros (3-0) a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
"I saw the space there that they gave me and luckily I got it through," said Nguyen, who finished with three singles. "I was up there on pure adrenaline."
Glendale took a 2-0 lead in the third. Brandy Morin opened by getting on via two-base error. Carly Zabka then sacrificed to third and the third baseman threw the ball past first, allowing Morin to score to make it 1-0. After a double play, Nguyen singled and then scored on an error by the second baseman on a ball hit by Cassandra Soto to extend the Vaqueros' lead to 2-0.
Grossmont (2-1) knotted the game at 2 in the fifth. Carla Carrillo led off with an inside-the-park home run to right to make it 2-1. The scored was tied at 2-2 on an infield single by Lindsey Thorstouson.
Nguyen's two-run single gave the Vaqueros a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the inning. Nguyen stole home to make it 5-2 before an infield hit by Adrienne Lozano raised the Vaqueros' lead to 6-2.
Grossmont got its first two runners aboard to start the sixth. Carrillo then doubled to score two runs and she promptly scored when the ball caromed off the left fielder's leg to make it 6-5.
After one out, Vanessa McHugh walked before the the game was called.
"We got lucky with the time, but I'm happy with the win," Nguyen said.
Earlier, the Vaqueros posted a pair of pool-play victories. Glendale began with a 7-1 win against Rio Hondo College, as Nguyen had a bases-clearing triple in the first to give it a 4-1 lead.
The Vaqueros then registered a 13-4 win against Pasadena City College in a game called after five innings because of the tournament-imposed 1 hour, 45-minute time rule. Jena Kaser, Morin and Nguyen each hit a home run.