GCC holds on to win opener

VENTURA — A melange of errors joined by timely hitting and solid pitching proved enough to propel the Glendale Community College softball team in the first game of Saturday afternoon's California Community College Athletic Assn. Southern California Regional at Ventura College.

The visiting 10th-seeded Vaqueros took advantage of five errors from the No. 7 Pirates in scoring a 6-2 victory to go up, 1-0, in the best-of-three-game series.

The second game of the series is set for this morning at 11 at Oxnard College, with an if-necessary deciding third game starting half an hour later.

"When a good team like Ventura gives you chances to win like today, you have to take advantage of them," Vaqueros Coach Hawk Wilder said. "That's why I'm proud of my team, because we took advantage with some good hitting."

Glendale's once comfortable 3-0 advantage shrunk to one after the Pirates (32-8) plated two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Yet, the Vaqueros (28-13) responded with their own three-run surge in the next half inning that started with a double from freshman Cece Martinez and included consecutive Pirates errors that led to a score and runners on second and third with no outs.

The two batters who reached base via errors, sophomores Casey Nicodemus and Nancy Pinedo, both eventually scored on a single from Carley Zabka and a wild pitch from Pirates starting pitcher Teresa Lemos.

The three scores put Glendale back up, 6-2, and made the job of starting pitcher Brandy Morin a lot easier, as the sophomore southpaw recorded three fly outs in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win.

"It was big to get those runs and I was able to relax," said Morin (21-11), who allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out five. "It was great to have a strong defense behind me. I don't worry about them at all."

While Ventura's defense wilted, the Vaqueros were relatively strong in committing only one error and delivering the potential defensive play of the game in the sixth.

With one on and one out and Glendale up, 3-0, Ventura sophomore Raelene Moreno tripled in Lemos, who walked, in scoring the Pirates' first run.

The three-bagger was followed up by a 3-2 rocket to right field from sophomore Katrina Gutierrez that plated Moreno.

Gutierrez easily had a double, but headed for third against a strong 9-4-5 relay started by right fielder Martinez that ended with a swipe tag by third baseman Kitty Nguyen that cut down Gutierrez and killed Ventura's rally.

Previous to the sixth inning, the only other scoring took place in the third, when Glendale plated three runs, one coming on a solo bomb to center from Nguyen, who finished two for four.

"I wanted to stay hungry at the plate and just wait for my pitch," Nguyen said. "There was no hesitation."

The other two runs during the frame came after Nicodemus walked and scored on a three-base throwing error at third that allowed the batter, Pinedo, to reach third and then score on a bunt from Morin.

"We played them the second game of the season [a 2-0 loss] and have changed so much since then," Wilder said. "Our hitting is much improved and so is our defense and we showed that today."


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