GCC to Super Regionals

NORTHEAST GLENDALE - A walk-off victory on Saturday fueled a regional-clinching win on Sunday.

A day after defeating San Diego Mesa on a walk-off grand slam, the Glendale Community College baseball team carried the momentum and confidence en route to advancing to the Super Regionals for the second consecutive year.

The Vaqueros rode the strength of a balanced offense and a superb pitching performance by Alonzo Gonzalez, as they defeated the Olympians, 6-0, on Sunday in the second game of the best-of-three first-round series of the California Community College Athletic Assn. Southern California Regional at Stengel Field.

“[Saturday’s win] fueled us,” said Vaquero designated hitter Adam Ochart, referring to Julian Jarrad’s grand slam that propelled Glendale college to a 5-3 victory in the first game of the series. “We didn’t want to wait long for a lead.”

Glendale college (27-10) will next play in this weekend’s Super Regionals at a site to be determined beginning Friday.

It needed a home run on Saturday to be in a position to advance Sunday.

Glendale college didn’t need to flex its power Sunday. The Vaqueros used seven singles – including two from Chris Stroh – from six players to score all their runs in the first three innings. Ochart had two of those runs and Ruben Padilla, Matt McCallister, Anthony Esparza and Jarrard each scored once.

“When everybody hits, we have a lot of success,” Ochart said. “It started with the momentum, from our first hitter to our ninth. It was a team win.”

Eight of the nine Vaqueros starting hitters had a run or drove in a teammate, as Cameron Gardner, Sergio Plasencia, and Stroh each had a run batted in.

“Hitting can be contagious,” said Vaqueros Coach Chris Cicuto, whose team had five runs in the second and one in the third. “It’s nice when your guys are getting hot. Everyone had a good part in that.”

Gonzalez played a large role on the mound.

He kept San Diego Mesa (20-17) hitless through five innings before Patrick De La Garza started the sixth with a double to left that he tried to stretch to a triple before being thrown out by Stroh. No Olympian reached third.

Gonzalez tossed seven innings, surrendered just the hit to De La Garza and struck out three.

“What was effective was the preparation I put in during this week in practice,” said Gonzalez, who was relieved by A.J. Monarrez and Kirk Edson, who combined to allow two hits. “I just tried to establish my fastball early, showing them that this is my mound and this is my game, and if you don’t like it, you’re going to get punched out.”

Gonzalez and his teammates will look to punch their ticket to a second straight appearance in the state tournament when the Super Regionals begin this weekend.

“In playoff baseball, anything can happen,” Gonzalez said “It starts with a strong and focused week of practice.”       

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