The loss closed the book on what Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto described as “a magical year” — one that saw the Vaqueros duck elimination three times over the weekend to come just one win away from reaching the state final four in Bakersfield.
“Our guys exceeded all expectations,” Cicuto said. “They played together as one unit and we grew up this year. You see them walking away crying. That’s not only teammates — that’s brothers, at this point.
“And for us to be one of eight teams still playing in the state of California, that’s definitely a successful situation right there.”
Fifth-seeded Glendale (30-12) bounced back in impressive fashion following an opening-round loss Friday to Mt. San Antonio. Three straight victories lifted the Vaqueros back into contention, including a 6-3 win early Sunday afternoon against top-seeded Orange Coast (36-5-1).
Fueled by the four runs it scored on four hits in the sixth inning, Glendale forced a decisive game against that same Pirates team.
By the time the grudge match got underway an hour later, however, the Vaqueros had run out of gas. They yielded 13 hits, including a grand slam, three-run homer and a two-run triple, countering that production with only three hits of their own. Chris Stroh's groundout scored Cameron Gardner in the seventh inning to trim the deficit, 11-1.
“Losing the way we did, we expected better out of ourselves,” said sophomore Ruben Padilla, who went three for three with two walks and a run scored in the first game Sunday. “I think that’s why it hurts this
much, because we knew we should be in the final four in state.