NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College softball team has made a habit of close games with Citrus College.
On March 22 in Glendora, it took extra innings to decide the first matchup between the two Western State Conference Blue Division rivals, with the Vaqueros winning by two in eight frames.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that yesterday's doubleheader at the Glendale Sports Complex was no different.
Glendale split the two games on Tuesday, defeating the Owls, 2-1, in the first before losing the second, 7-6.
The victory carried more significance for the Vaqueros than the loss. By winning the season series, Glendale (9-5 in league, 24-12 overall) now holds the tiebreaker over Citrus (10-5, 22-14) as the two teams battle for second in their division heading into the final week of the regular season.
"It was very important," said Glendale's Kitty Nguyen of the victory. "This was a very much needed win."
The Vaqueros pulled out the first game, 2-1, when Nancy Pinedo scored on an Owl throwing error in the bottom of the seventh. Pinedo had two hits in the first game.
Pitcher Brandy Morin picked up the victory, scattering five hits while striking out five.
Morin also pitched most of the second game, going six-plus innings before running out of gas. She allowed six runs on 12 hits while striking out five.
"She's our starting pitcher, and she is our pitcher," said Glendale Coach Dave Wilder.
The left-handed Morin said she felt "exhausted" after the 13 innings of work, but added she was used to it.
Wilder was not pleased on two fronts after the second game: the three errors his team made and the missed opportunities at the plate.
"It's mistakes we don't usually make," Wilder said. "When you make those mistakes, a team will capitalize on them.
"We had girls in scoring position the last three innings, we put the big bats up and we couldn't do it. And that's on us. We've got to get focused all the time. Every game means everything to us."
After falling behind 4-0 after two innings, the Vaqueros climbed back into the game in the third. Glendale pulled to within 4-3 after a two-run single by Nguyen and a RBI triple from Jena Kaser.
The Owls extended the lead to 7-3, but again Glendale rallied to pull to within 7-6 thanks to three consecutive RBI singles in the bottom of the seventh before the final out.
That ability to rally may pay off as the Vaqueros eye a playoff berth.
"That's exactly what we do," said Nguyen, who had two singles, two RBIs, two walks and scored a run in the loss. "It's always at the end. Our whole team is clutch. No matter what situation, we always come back and fight."