Glendale Community College softball back in the hunt

GLENDALE — After having little to no offense to speak of in the first half of Wednesday's doubleheader, the Glendale Community College softball team disposed of visiting Santa Monica College with a mercy rule win to sweep the day.

The Vaqueros won the opener in walk-off fashion as Claire Ortiz, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, drove in the winning run of the 1-0 game.

PHOTOS: GCC beats Santa Monica CC in Western State Conference softball

What was a one-run affair through four innings of the second game was blown open with Glendale scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the sixth en route to a 10-2 win at the Glendale Sports Complex.

It was a big day for Glendale, as it’s now on a five-game winning streak that's brought its record to 13-11 and to an even 3-3 in the Western State Conference Blue Division.

“We went from 8-11 to 13-11,” said Glendale Coach Dave “Hawk” Wilder, who pointed out the importance of his team's upcoming home game with Citrus College Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. “We're now back in the running, we're .500 in league.”

GCC racked up 11 hits and took advantage of four Santa Monica errors in Wednesday's second game. Amanda Carriedo led the way with a three-for-four, two-runs-batted-in performance in the final game of the day.

“It was very important [to sweep today] just to help out our record and everything,” Carriedo said. “We wanted to come out here and play hard and we did.

“I'm very excited [with my game], I've been in a slump so this was really good for me.”

Santa Monica (2-19, 0-8 in conference) took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning on a Selma Cortez two-run home run. GCC responded with a leadoff homer from Vanessa Mendoza (two for four) and a Carriedo RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to take back the lead, 3-2, with an error later scoring Carriedo.

Ortiz, who plays first, had another great performance in the second game. She gunned down two runners at home in the third and fifth inning, while it was still tightly contested. Wilder said she won the team's “dirt eater award” for outstanding defensive play in the infield.

“She played phenomenal, this is the first time she's ever played first base and never batted left until this year,” Wilder said. “She's a major player and she's done a great job as a freshman.”

Ortiz also helped blow the game open in the bottom of the fifth for the Vaqueros with a two-out, two-RBI double in the bottom of the fifth inning. Brenda Soto (two for three) also had a key run-scoring single in the frame, which saw GCC push the lead to 7-2.

Glendale ended the game an inning early in the bottom of the sixth. Mendoza got on board with a leadoff infield single to shortstop. Jena Kaser, who nearly had two home runs that turned into long flyouts at the Glendale Sports Complex's spacious center field, then reached second on an error in right field.

Carriedo plated Mendoza with a line single into the left-center field gap, and Kelsie Ange brought home Kaser and Carriedo with a two-run single to cap the scoring and end the game.

“We've played five doubleheaders this year and we play evenly in the first game and mercy them in the second game. It seems we play down to our competition in the first game,” Wilder said. “We should have mercied this team twice.”

Wilder praised the play of his defense and pitching on the day. Katie Bakhshian started the first four innings of both games and struck out seven batters, walked one and gave up six hits in the final game after giving up just one hit in the opener.

Kayla Evans came on in relief in both games. She also allowed just one hit in the opener and struck out three in three innings of the work and struck out two batters, walking two others to finish the day.

It was pitching that kept the Vaqueros alive for a walk-off win in the opener. Offensively, Sofia Garcia and Bakhshian started the bottom of the seventh with full-count walks for GCC.

A perfectly placed sacrifice bunt from Ange put both runners in scoring position with one out for Ortiz, who lined the second pitch she saw over the shortstop and into left-center field for the win.

“I think we were just not being patient. We weren't getting our good pitches and we were swinging underneath them and popping them up right to them,” Ortiz said of the first-game struggles on offense. “It's a reminder to keep playing to our level and don't play down to theirs.”

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