NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Well that’s one way to start a new season.
After losing its quarterfinal game in the Vaquero Softball Classic Saturday, the Glendale Community College Lady Vaqueros weren’t expecting to play in the final rounds the next day.
But when Ventura College announced it would be unavailable to continue, the Vaqueros took its spot and took full advantage of the second chance as GCC went on to win its host tournament for the first time in its seven-year history.
Glendale Coach Dave “Hawk” Wilder has seen plenty in his tenure, but he admitted advancing after a loss was a first.
“Nothing like this has happened before,” Wilder said after a 5-2 win over East L.A. College in the tournament’s championship game Sunday afternoon at the Glendale Sports Complex.
Glendale (5-1) beat the likes of Grossmont, Rio Hondo and Pasadena in pool play on Friday.
In the semifinal game against San Diego Mesa earlier Sunday, the Vaqueros relied on their bats to outlast the Olympians, 17-14. The game ended on an Adrienne Lozano walk-off home run in the eighth inning just 40 minutes prior to the start of the championship game.
It would be pitching, however, that would garner the first-place trophy.
Pitching in her first game in collegiate play, freshman Mynia Bogan came one final out short of a complete game. In over six innings of work, she gave up one run on five hits.
Wilder relieved Bogan for Brandy Morin, who got the final out of the tournament after pitching in both games Sunday and in the 2-0 loss Saturday where she didn’t give up an earned run on two hits with nine strikeouts.
“Brandy has pitched great all tournament for us and I knew I had to pitch well and give her a break,” Bogan said. “I went in there with confidence and I think I came through.”
“The defense had my back, and our bats were amazing.”
Glendale scored all five of its runs in the first two innings. The first two runs were the results of illegal pitches thrown by East L.A.’s starting pitcher.
Carley Zabka’s single to center plated Jena Kaser, who was on third base, for the team’s third run in the first inning.
Kitty Nguyen’s two-run triple in the second ended the scoring for the Vaqueros, but it ultimately proved to be enough for Bogan and the Glendale defense.
Bogan gave up the team’s first run in the fifth inning and pitched into trouble in the seventh, giving up a solo home run and two consecutive singles before walking off the mound to loud cheers.
“Without her, we wouldn’t win this game,” Wilder said.
The Vaqueros accumulated nine hits. Lozano, the leadoff hitter, and Morin, the team’s No. 2 hitter, each picked up two hits with two runs apiece.
“One through nine, we have major hitters,” said Wilder, who saw his team total 16 hits in a semifinal game in which it trailed, 8-2, early and 14-12 in the eighth inning before tying it in the bottom half of the extra inning and then winning it on the walk off. “Everyone on the team can hit the ball. We know if we’re down, we can come back.”
Before coming back to win the game and earning the right to play in the championship game, Wilder shouted out to his players: “Great moments happen at great times. Now’s the time.”