Glendale Community College softball rolls through Gateway College in Glendale Tournament

GLENDALE — Even without the benefit of a hit, the members of the Glendale Community College still enjoyed a huge opening inning during a pool-play game of their tournament Friday night at the Glendale Sports Complex.

The Vaqueros showed patience at the plate while batting for nearly 20 minutes, racking up five walks and scoring five runs. The Glendale coaching staff wasn’t even aware the Vaqueros hadn’t registered a hit.

“I thought maybe we had one or two hits,” said Glendale assistant Sal Pizzo, who saw Glendale pick up an 11-0 victory against Gateway College (Ariz.) in a game called in the fifth inning because of the mercy rule in the eighth annual Glendale Tournament. “It’s good to see them step in there and be patient because that’s something we’ve talked a lot about.

“We talked about how you can’t give away at-bats. We have a lot of freshmen and we hope the jitters are gone.”

The Vaqueros, who won the event and appeared in the playoffs last season, opened the tournament earlier Friday with a 3-1 pool-play loss against Moorpark before bouncing back with a 9-5 pool-play victory against Victor Valley. Glendale will meet Santiago Canyon or Ventura in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Saturday at the same site.

In the first inning against Gateway, the first three batters reached base via walk or hit by pitch. Lemus then walked on a 3-0 pitch to score Amanda Zepeda to give Glendale a 1-0 lead. A throwing error by the catcher extended the advantage to 2-0 and Sofia Garcia scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.

Nicole Saucillo walked with the bases loaded to make it 4-0 before Kelsie Ange drove in a run with a ground out to complete the scoring.

The huge inning was enough to support Glendale starting pitcher Katie Bakhshian, a right-hander who allowed two hits in three innings before reliever Kayla Evans hurled a pair of scoreless innings.

“When the team is hitting behind me, it gives me a lot of momentum,” said Bakhshian, who got five ground-ball outs. “It’s huge to have that big first inning.”

Glendale, which was without Coach Dave “Hawk” Wilder because of illness, provided additional support for Bakhshian.

The Vaqueros, who finished with three hits, took a 6-0 lead in the second on an error.

Glendale scored five more runs in the third.

Zepeda made it 7-0 with a bases-loaded walk and Amanda Carriedo grounded into a force at second base to make it 8-0.

Glendale catcher Jenna Kaser, who helped the Vaqueros finish second in the Western State Conference’s Blue Division last season, then hit a three-run inside-the-park home run to right to raise the advantage to 11-0.

“We wanted to get a couple of early runs to help get us going,” said Kaser, who earned all-conference second-team honors after she batted .441 with eight homers, 42 runs batted in and an .811 slugging percentage last season. “Patience is a big factor and it’s something we learned a lot about last year.

“I thought we showed a lot of discipline at the plate tonight. On my home run, I hit it on the sweet spot all the way. It’s awesome to get that home run after I struggled a little bit during the first two games.”

Zepeda, Carriedo and Garcia scored two runs apiece for the Vaqueros. Zepeda and Carriedo each had a single.

The Geckos finished with three hits, including two from Jasmine Garcia. Gateway opened the tournament with a 13-5 pool-play victory against Santa Monica City before suffering a 12-2 pool-play defeat against Rio Hondo.

Lemus scored the lone run for the Vaqueros on a wild pitch against Moorpark.

Against Victor Valley, Kaser hit a solo inside-the-park home run for Glendale, which also received a two-run double from Carriedo.

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