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Vaqs set to begin next phase of campaign

Baseball: Playoff opener draws near for streaking GCC squad, which will host series.

May 05, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

GLENDALE — After finishing 10 games over .500 and capturing the program's first Western State Conference Southern Division title since 2002, the Glendale Community College baseball team is only focusing on the future rather than basking in the recent past.

In fact, it's been hard for the Vaqueros to patiently wait for the onset of the 2011 California Community College Athletic Assn. playoffs since clinching the conference title on April 28, but the opener of the regional round is just around the corner.

"We're excited, every day at practice we're working really hard to make this dream of ours keep going," said Glendale catcher Erik Suarez, whose Vaqueros (23-13) host Cypress College (21-15) for the opener of a best-of-three series at Stengel Field beginning at 1 p.m. Friday. "We just want this game to happen already."

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The series will continue at Stengel on Saturday at 11 a.m., with an if-necessary third game set to begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first.

For Friday's matchup, Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto has penciled in left-hander Ryan Sherriff to take the ball, while the Chargers may counter with righty ace Connor Haddock.

"We'll start a right-hander on Friday, I don't know which one," said Cypress Coach Scott Pickler, whose team finished fourth in the rugged Orange Empire Conference. "I'm sure they'll throw their left-hander on Friday and [right-hander Nick] Woodward on Saturday, I would guess."

Sherriff and Woodward have been part of lights-out rotation that fueled the surge to the conference title, while the offense has thrived behind the heroics of Sean Spear and Sako Chapjian.

"Sako and Spear are probably our two best players and then with Noteware coming out of the pen and we basically have two or three aces on our team with Sherriff, Woodward and [Thomas] Korn," Suarez said, while cautioning against overconfidence. "We're not going to take them lightly. They must be pretty good if they made it to the playoffs out of that conference."

Said Cicuto: "It's going to be a tough, tough game, but if we can defend and our pitchers can keep throwing like they have been, then we have a great opportunity to win a couple games here."

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