By Nathan Cambridge
It was time to renew the girls’ softball rivalry between Glendale and Hoover, and this time the spoils of victory would be twofold: city bragging rights and the elusive first victory of the season.
In the end, it was Hoover that seized the day as the host Tornadoes used a big inning to come out on top against Glendale, 19-7, in a Pacific League contest Thursday afternoon that was shortened to five innings via the mercy rule.
“They are our rival school and we want to beat them every year,” Tornado Desiree Guzman said. “[This year] we did and we’re so excited.”
The Hoover win, along with being the first of the season, ended a long drought against its crosstown opponent.
“I think it was amazing because we haven’t beat [Glendale] since 2008,” said Guzman, whose team has a 1-6 record (with all of its games being league competition).
The game was deadlocked at 6-6 entering the bottom of the third inning, where the Tornados erupted for nine runs. Glendale starting pitcher Ashley Garces walked Hoover’s Sydney Sanvictores to lead off the frame. Sanvictores then stole three consecutive bases to pull her team ahead.
After two more walks, Garces gave way to Angie Leos in the circle. After the junior hit Guzman with a pitch, the next eight Tornados to come to the plate drove in a run, with Guzman scoring on a wild pitch mixed in.
After Guzman was hit to load the bases, the next four batters hit RBI singles, starting with Eden Maldonado. The next three run-producing singles came from Alexis Figueroa, Samantha Coromac and Kiahana Montano. Makayla Ramirez then plated another run by drawing a bases-loaded walk. Amy Ramos swatted another single for a RBI. The final two runs of the frame came on a fielder’s choice by Celeste Torrez and an error by Glendale.
Guzman, who went the distance in the circle, pitched a scoreless top of the fourth to match her effort in the third.
In the bottom of the frame, the Tornadoes piled on four more runs via a ground out by Figueroa, an RBI single by Sanvictores, a wild pitch and another RBI single by Sophia Lozano.
In the top of the fifth, Jarely Aguilar hit a triple that rolled to the fence in left center field to score Sammy Maylad, who had reached after being hit by a pitch, but it was too little, too late as Guzman finished off the Nitros with a strikeout to end the contest via the mercy rule.
“The key to the whole game was being being patient at the bat. Swing at strikes only and good things will happen,” Hoover coach Rich Henning said. “It’s been a long time since we have beaten [Glendale] and it feels good.”
Glendale (0-10 overall, 0-8 in league) had started off strong, putting up a five-spot in the first inning thanks to three hits and three Tornado errors. Nitro Patty Ramos led off with a double, then scored on an error. The next two batters drove in a run on a double by Bella Romero and a sacrifice fly by Kacey Martinez.
The Nitros maintained their advantage until Hoover tied the game at 6-6 with five runs in the bottom of the second.
“[We] came out strong. The first inning we put five up,” Glendale coach Jack Monroe said. “We’ve been playing a lot of tough teams so that hasn’t been the case, so we were real proud of them for that. [We] are just a big work in progress.”