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Angel Rodriguez leads Glendale Community College baseball conference honorees

Baseball: Thirteen Vaqueros earn All-Western State Conference accolades; Cicuto named coach of the year.

May 16, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Glendale Commmunity College's Angel Rodriguez was named the Western State Conference South Division Pitcher of the Year. It's the third year in a row a Vaquero has taken that honor.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Glendale Commmunity College's… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

Looking to jump start his career, Angel Rodriguez left Cal State Northridge for an opportunity to join the Glendale Community College baseball team.

Rodriguez, who spent last season as a redshirt at CSUN, sought the chance to receive more individual attention while looking to improve his overall pitching skills.

Turns out things worked fine for Rodriguez, who helped the Vaqueros win their third Western State Conference South Division championship in a row and was tabbed the division’s pitcher of the year.

“I wanted to come to GCC so I could better myself academically and on the field,” said Rodriguez, a freshman right-hander who went 8-3 in 14 appearances. “I also built a great relationship with [Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto] and the coaching staff worked with me on a lot of things to keep getting better.

“I came into the season feeling a little unsure about myself. Then I settled in and set my goals and hopped on the roller coaster and things just took off from there. It’s great to win the award. I’m ready to come back and attack next year.”

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Glendale finished 27-13 and 19-5 in the division before topping Grossmont College in the Southern California Regionals. The Vaqueros were then eliminated in the super regionals.

Rodriguez also earned a spot on the South Division’s first team after striking out 57 in 79 2/3 innings to finish with a 2.26 earned-run average. He allowed 27 runs (20 earned) and was one of six Vaqueros to receive first-team honors.

Cicuto, who was named the division’s coach of the year, said Rodriguez exceeded expectations.

“He came in and pitched well the whole season,” Cicuto said. “He seemed to get stronger and better with each outing.

“He’s dedicated and he showed he could be the best. He deserves to get the honor. Plus, we still have him for next year.”

Joining Rodriguez on the first team are Pepe Marquez, Justin Jones, Chris Whitmer, Austin Walker and Spencer Jack.

Marquez, a sophomore shortstop, batted .336 (36 for 107) with 22 runs and 24 runs batted in.

Jones, a freshman outfielder, batted a robust .345 (30 for 87) and drove in 13 runs.

Whitmer hit .257 (28 for 109) with four home runs and 20 runs batted in. The sophomore utility player stole 10 bases and scored 23 runs.

Walker, a sophomore designated hitter, batted .248 (32 for 129) with two home runs and 19 runs batted in.

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