NORTHEAST GLENDALE — It didn't matter how it happened, but the Glendale Community College softball team needed a win in the second half of its doubleheader with visiting San Diego Mesa.
The Vaqueros got the win in walk-off fashion, 5-4, in the second game Saturday — albeit with as little drama as possible, as three straight walks brought home the winning run.
Glendale Coach Dave "Hawk" Wilder didn't care how pretty it looked.
"[San Diego Mesa] wasn't really playing their [starters in the second game] until they got close to tying, so we had to win it," said Wilder, whose team fell to the Olympians in the opener, 13-1. "You can't let someone like that come into your home and beat you both games."
Glendale's Brandy Morin started the bottom of the seventh off with a slap single and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Carley Zabka. Two consecutive walks — one intentional — loaded the bases for Casey Nicodemus.
"I had an aggressive mindset, but the pitcher was struggling a little bit, so I just had to be patient and wait for the right pitch to drive out," Nicodemus said.
It never came, as Nicodemus, who finished two for three with three runs batted in, watched three straight balls cross the plate and took a strike before coaxing the run-scoring walk.
"I guess it was my favorite [RBI] since it was the gam-winner, but other than that it was kind of anti-climactic," Nicodemus said.
Morin got the win in the circle for the Vaqueros (18-8) after surrendering five hits, two walks and three earned runs in the complete-game performance, which included eight strikeouts.
The victory helped ease Glendale's pain from being mercy-ruled in the opener.
"It was super, super important [to get the win]," Nicodemus said. "We had to split this game, it was important just for our morale to come back and win."
The Vaqueros struggled mightily at the plate in the first game, manufacturing just seven base runners with just four hits. They were unable to move runners over, batting .125 (one for eight) with runners in scoring position in the opener and .166 (two for 12) with runners on base.
It was the exact opposite for San Diego Mesa, which batted .500 with runners on base (eight for 16) and .615 (eight for 13) with runners in scoring position. The Olympians also got a helping hand from seven free passes Glendale issued in the circle.
"We played bad [in that first game] — we didn't play softball at all — it was like we'd never played the game before," Wilder said.
Laura Nelson threw a complete game in the opener for the Olympians (21-5) and didn't pitch the second game. She gave up four hits, one walk and struck out three batters.
The Vaqueros got their lone run in the bottom of the fifth, which Adrienne Lozano led off with a single. A walk and an Olympians error loaded the bases with one out. A Nelson strikeout made it two outs and Zabka, who was two for three with a RBI in the opener, saved Glendale from the shutout as she lined a ball into the outfield.
The second game was much closer, as San Diego Mesa played mostly reserves, including a different pitcher.
It was a back-and-forth affair, as the Olympians scored three runs on two hits, a walk, a hit by pitch and an error in the first inning, but the Vaqueros tied it at 3 in their half with four hits.
Nancy Pinedo (two for four in the game) led off Glendale's half of the first with an infield single and scored on a throw to first base when Morin (two for four with an RBI in the game) slid safely back into first after hitting a chopping grounder into center field.
Jena Kaser brought Morin home with a sacrifice fly and Nicodemus tied the game at 3 with a line-drive single to right field.
Nicodemus gave Glendale its first lead of the day in the third when she notched a bases-loaded infield single.
San Diego Mesa evened it back up at 4 in the top of the sixth with a run-scoring single from Alexis Sorely.