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Stroh delivers walk-off

Baseball: Vaqueros advance in postseason with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Cypress at Stengel Field.

May 07, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — In hindsight, the entire Glendale Community College baseball team claimed it knew its season wasn't going to end Saturday, but it couldn't have been a closer call.

It looked like the Vaqueros' season was all but over, down two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of the third game of a best-of-three series against Cypress College in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. regional playoffs, when a leadoff home run, a critical error and a clutch walk-off hit delivered a 9-8 win that ensured Glendale would advance to the Super Regional Tournament beginning May 13.

"I knew from the beginning that we're too good for our season to be over. We've worked way too hard for us to be done here," said Vaqueros left fielder Chris Stroh, whose two-out double drove in shortstop Josh Canales for the winning run.

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Sako Chapjian gave Glendale hope, leading off the final inning with a home run to left field — cutting the deficit to one. Cypress pitcher Jared Wilson gave up another hit, a single to Sean Spear, before settling down and retiring the next two batters. Then the life was sucked out of Stengel Field when Canales hit a routine ground ball to Chargers shortstop Max Price.

A wave of emotions went through Stroh as he watched the play from the on-deck circle. For a second, he thought the season was over, but then Glendale was given new life when Price fired an errant throw to first base that sailed to the back of the fence and brought Spear in to score, tying the game at 8.

Stroh, Glendale's No. 9 hitter, made good on the second chance, delivering a line-drive, walk-off hit down the right-field line all the way to the fence that scored Canales easily to give Glendale a 9-8 victory.

"Stroh has been extremely important to our offense and he's kind of struggled this year," Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto said. "He battled through a slump, though, and that's huge."

The win capped off an emotional two days for the Vaqueros. They began short series against Cypress with a 7-1 loss on Friday afternoon, but rebounded in the second game Saturday morning for a 9-4 win. Glendale rode that wave to victory in the deciding game, which ended the Chargers' season.

Chapjian put Glendale on his back in the first game, blasting two three-run homers and picking up an offense that had been struggling. He finished the day with six hits, three home runs and eight runs batted in (two in the final game) after going hitless in four plate appearances the day before.

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