SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — After a disastrous first inning in which the Glendale High softball team emerged with a four-run deficit, Nitros Coach Christine Paknik was admittedly stunned.
Four innings later and the feeling had hardly subsided as Glendale fell in five innings against visiting Arcadia, 15-0, in Thursday's Pacific League tilt at Glendale High.
"My heart's still in my throat," said Paknik, whose team fell to 4-3 and 1-1 in league after opening up with a win Tuesday over Muir. "I have no words. [That was] not at all the way I saw us starting today."
Glendale starter Kristi Cabana was victimized by a hard-hitting Apaches lineup to the tune of four first-inning hits that, coupled with two walks, equated to a 4-0 lead for Arcadia (6-3, 2-0) before a sacrifice fly ended the inning with an unconventional 4-2-5 double play. Fortune grew worse for the Nitros throughout, as they would commit six errors, issue five walks and hit three batters, while being held to three total baserunners and one hit — a Krissel Miraflor single up the middle in bottom of the fifth.
"This absolutely wasn't my team," said Paknik, whose squad didn't have a baserunner until Esmerada Winland was hit by a pitch in the third with two outs. "I don't know what happened."
Meanwhile, the win could loom as large in the standings as it did on the scoreboard, as past seasons have seen Arcadia fend off Glendale and Hoover for fourth place in league and the last automatic playoff berth in close battles, but after the Apaches beat the Tornadoes, 11-1, in the teams' openers, a gap appears to have widened.
"We're a very young team, so we don't take anything for granted," said Arcadia Coach Megan Leahy, whose team split the season series with the Nitros last season by identical 3-1 scores. "While I'm pleased and I want to see it continue, I don't want to rest on it."
Arcadia, which has just one senior, added an unearned run in the second before scoring three more in the third, as a bases-loaded jam was ended by a splendid outstretched catch at second base by Glendale's Meghan Spencer. Arcadia's Izzy Mejia had three of her team's eight hits and Lisa Rosas scored three runs.
In the fourth, things got even worse, as Glendale committed five errors, including three consecutively, and allowed seven runs in the stanza despite just two singles. All but one of the runs were unearned.
Rachel Bartamia came on in relief during the inning and allowed a walk, but was victimized by four of the errors. In the fifth, she recorded the only 1-2-3 inning of the day for Glendale.
[Arcadia] came out to hit," Paknik said. "We came out to play patty cake and they came out to smash the ball."
Of utmost importance now for the Nitros, according to their coach, is bouncing back and showing the form that she believes truly represents the team. That opportunity will come Saturday, as Glendale hosts Rosemead and L.A. Baptist in the final day of the Lincoln Classic Tournament.
Said Paknik: "[It's] huge to get mentally back in the saddle."