GLENDALE — After paying tribute to their former coach, the members of the Glendale Community College softball team turned to Jocelyn Zavala for some clutch plate appearances Friday night.
Prior to Glendale’s game against Long Beach City College at the Glendale Sports Complex, the Vaqueros honored Dave “Hawk” Wilder, who had piloted the program the past 13 years. Wilder died in June at 70, and the program decided to name its annual tournament in honor of him.
“It makes us feel good that we could win for him,” said Zavala, a freshman shortstop. “I had only met him once before, but a lot of people told me he was a good man.”
Glendale (3-0) opened the tournament earlier Friday with a 9-2 win against Victor Valley.
The Vaqueros escaped a based-loaded jam in the top of the first inning against Long Beach (0-2). Then Glendale took advantage of its based-loaded situation in the bottom of the first when Zavala drove in a pair of runs with a single on a 3-2 pitch.
“When I get to two strikes, I just have to think that it’s nothing,” Zavala said. “Don’t think of it as pressure and you can go out there and do something good.
“I crowded the plate on the last pitch and I got a perfect pitch to hit.”
Long Beach sliced the deficit to 2-1 in the fifth on a force out.
Zavala provided the Vaqueros with an insurance run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to left.
Glendale Coach Sal Pizzo, who served as Wilder’s assistant the previous six seasons, said Zavala can provide the Vaqueros with a couple of dimensions.
“She brings a lot of stability to our infield in terms of consistency and she can make the plays,” said Pizzo, who addressed the crowd during the pregame ceremony. “She’s stepped up to win the battle.
“She can provide the team with speed and can hit for some power. It’s been an emotional day, but we showed we could win in two different ways.”
Glendale freshman starting pitcher Myrna Gonzalez went the distance, scattering six hits.
In the Victor Valley contest, which went five innings, Jasmine Hernandez finished with a pair of triples and three runs batted in for the Vaqueros. Zavala added three hits and Jessica Morena had two. Glendale finished with 11 hits.
Glendale will conclude the two-day tournament Saturday with a pair of games at the complex. The Vaqueros will meet Rio Hondo at 1 p.m. and Santiago Canyon at 5.