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Angelenos wrap up inaugural season

Baseball: Glendale squad meets expectations during first year of existence.

August 02, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Though it didn't produce a winning record in its first year of existence, members of the Glendale Angelenos said expectations were largely met.

On and off the field, the season, which began in late-May and concluded Sunday, proved to be a challenge for the baseball team that finished 24-26 and 11-25 for sixth place in the competitive California Collegiate League. The original roster began to turn over almost immediately after a bevy of players left the Angelenos after they were selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in early June.

For Glendale Coach Tony Riviera, it was a case of him mixing and matching players and giving them opportunities to succeed around the diamond.

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"We were able to achieve so many things," said Riviera, whose team finished second in the league with 34 home runs and ended its season Sunday with a 5-4 league road loss against the Conejo Oaks. "For our first year, we exceeded expectations and we learned a lot that that can help prepare us for next year.

"We drew large crowds toward the last part of the season. We had people coming over from nearby Verdugo Park to our games. We received thank-yous from the parents and the fans."

On the field, the Angelenos provided late-game entertainment en route to winning several close games. They also hosted the Fox Sports-televised California Collegiate League All-Star Game on July 13 before a packed Stengel Field that had undergone numerous renovations shortly before the season began.

"We tried to be entertaining," said Riviera, whose team won a season-best nine games in a row during the second half of June. "We had the all-star game and that's something we'd like to have come back as early as next year.

"I'm extremely optimistic for the following years. We are already looking at next year. Everybody now knows who we are and there's a documentation of success that we have. I believe we now have the ability to talk to sponsors, the community and the chamber of commerce to gain more recognition."

The Angelenos, who ended their season winning four of their final six games, featured several players with local ties. Among them included Sako Chapjian, a Hoover High and Glendale Community College graduate.

Chapjian led the Angelenos with nine home runs and 31 runs batted in and was one of 10 Angelenos to participate in the all-star game.

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