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Glendale Community College softball raises expectations

Softball: Overhauled Vaqueros team looks to build on historic 2012 season.

January 31, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Claire Ortiz is part of what should be a skilled infield for the Glendale Community College softball team this season. Ortiz, who will be playing first base this year, played shortstop for Crescenta Valley High last year.
Claire Ortiz is part of what should be a skilled infield… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

After losing nearly its entire team from last year, the assumption might be the Glendale Community College softball team is lowering expectations from a 2012 when it put together the finest postseason run in program history.

That'd be wrong, Vaqueros Coach Dave “Hawk” Wilder said.

“State is the goal. We almost did it last year, hopefully we can do it again this year,” he said. “I think the expectations are higher.”

Glendale finished with a 30-15 record and qualified for the postseason for the first time in a decade last year after taking second in the Western State Conference's Blue Division with a 12-6 record. The Vaqueros went on to the California Community College Athletic Assn.'s Southern California Super Regionals and fell a game short of the Super Regional championship in a 3-2 loss to Mt. San Antonio College on May 12, 2012.

Jena Kaser returns to fill the role of catcher for Glendale this season after earning all-conference second-team honors in 2012, while batting .441 with eight homers, 42 runs batted in and an .811 slugging percentage.

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“She should be an All-American this year; she’s our catcher and our captain,” Wilder said of Kaser. “She has been offered a lot of scholarships and we’re just looking to see how she does this season and what comes up for her.”

But after Kaser, there’s certainly a new make-up to the team.

Things will look different for the Vaqueros in the 2013 season, which kicks off Friday with the Glendale Tournament at the Glendale Sports Complex. GCC begins Western Conference play with a doubleheader against L.A. Mission College March 7 beginning at 1 p.m.

Glendale relied heavily on its sophomore pitcher Brandy Morin to keep it in games and protect leads last year. Wilder hopes Katie Bakhshian, a freshman from Immaculate Heart, and Kayla Evans, a sophomore transfer from Humboldt State, will have similar success and give the Vaqs depth in the circle this year.

Gone is the Vaqueros’ power-hitting lineup of last year that was highlighted by third baseman Kitty Nguyen, who now plays at Cal State San Bernardino, and Morin, but they should have the consistency and speed to remain a potent offensive team.

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