Tag Archives: Glendale Community College

colleges

Sizzling bats have GCC softball winning games

by Jason Stone

Kiko Tamoshiro came to Glendale from Japan looking for an education, not softball glory.
But it turns out she got both — and Glendale Community College’s softball program is fortunate for it.
When coaches posted a notice around campus for open tryouts last fall, Tamoshiro, a former shortstop and catcher in Okinawa, decided to give it a try, despite knowing little English.
4c50a151060a4.imageNot only did Tamoshiro make the team, she turned out to be the team’s best hitter.
“She is the best walk-on we’ve ever had at GCC,” first-year coach Rebecca Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer is not kidding. Tamoshiro is batting .490 entering the week, eighth best in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
Her effect has seemed to spark everybody at the top of GCC’s lineup these days.
Freshman catcher Felicia Cruz is right behind Tamoshiro on the ACCAC hitting charts with a .456 batting average, while sophomore Ashley Beetso is hitting a cool .450.
The Gauchos are hitting over .300 as a team, surprising everybody, including their coach.
“I think this is the first time the team average has ever been over .300,” said Schweitzer, a former Gauchos player who, at 24, is one year older than Tamoshiro. “It was frustrating at the beginning of the year, but the last couple of weeks it has been so much better.”
GCC is currently at .500 in the ACCAC, which is not bad considering the league features Pima College and Phoenix College, the defending NJCAA Division 1 and 2 national champions, respectively.
The Gauchos have picked up one win each against both teams already, including last week’s dramatic 9-8 win at Pima when GCC scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“We’ve just had a lot of hard work (to improve),” said Cruz, a former player at Central High in Phoenix. “We’ve been in the (batting) cage a lot and doing a lot of work on the tee.”
The work is obvious on the scoreboard.
The Gauchos have won 14 of their last 17 games to move seven games out of first place among Division 2 teams in the ACCAC.
The recent hot streak has also put GCC only a game behind Mesa for second place.
Beetso, who doesn’t possess the speed of a normal leadoff hitter, had 49 hits entering the season, and has been scoring in bunches thanks to Tamoshiro in the two-spot, and Cruz in the cleanup spot.
Tamoshiro has been using her speed to pick up seven triples among her team-high 50 hits.
“She’s got wheels, let me tell you,” Cruz said.
Tamoshiro said she has no secret to hitting triples.
“I just run,” she said.
And she’s had plenty of opportunities to run with all the hits she’s racked up.
“I wish I had 13 players like her,” said Schweitzer, who played at GCC in the late 1990s before leaving for a school in Georgia. “She’s just great to have on the team.”
Cruz said the Japanese import has sparked the team.
“I think it’s awesome,” Cruz said. “It’s new for me because I’ve never played with anybody overseas, but everybody is coming along.”
Coaches have to often talk slowly to Tamoshiro to make sure the player understands their instructions.
“But once you tell her something, you don’t have to tell her again,” Schweitzer said. “She never makes the same mistake twice.”
Mistakes are something GCC hasn’t been making much lately.

Published at glendalestar.com • March 31, 2005

colleges

GCC softball passes torch to former player

by Jason Stone

As a player, Rebecca Schweitzer always knew she wanted to be a coach. But she never envisioned the opportunity would could this soon.
The former Glendale Community College power-hitting first baseman in the late 1990s just happened to be in the right place at the right time when she moved back to Arizona from Georgia last summer.
Laura Dodrill, Schweitzer’s coach at GCC and the Gauchos’ leader for the last 10 years, hired Schweitzer as an assistant after Schweitzer spent a year as a high school coach and graduate assistant in Georiga.
But when Dodrill became a full-time employee in the school’s advisement center, she was no longer allowed to coach.4c50a17614596.image
So instead of Schweitzer coming back as an assistant, GCC athletic director Dave Grant promoted her to head coach on a one-year emergency contract.
It was a dream offer that the Prescott native could not refuse.
“I was always one of those athletes who was not very natural,” said Schweitzer, who at 24 is only one year older than her oldest player. “I had to work so hard. I think it just made me good to be a coach.”
With GCC beginning play this week in an out-of-town tournament, it is Schweitzer’s job to build on the success Dodrill set.
In 10 years with the Gauchos, GCC did not win a conference championship, but made the playoffs in nine of those seasons.
“Glendale has always been a strong program and it will continue to be a strong program,” Dodrill said. “I think Becca will do a great job.”
The timing for a changeover came at a good time for Schweitzer. Only six sophomores are on this roster, meaning most of the team was going to have to get used to a new coach anyway.
Sophomores Cortney Schwartz, Shelby Stiner and Kari Lewis are expected to help the newcomers get acclimated to the program. Schweitzer expects freshmen Megan Erbe and Felicia Cruz to provide an early impact.
Schweitzer is hoping success results in a long-term job and is eager to recruit her first class during the season.
Dodrill said it won’t be hard for Schweitzer to be successful, despite the new coach’s age.
“The biggest thing I’m proud of is despite not having a national championship, our success has been shown in the quality of student-athlete we produce,” Dodrill said. “Everybody would love to be a national champion, but I don’t measure success that way.”
Dodrill has proven at least one thing: GCC produces coaches.

Published at glendalestar.com • Feb. 3, 2005

colleges

Gauchos not going to bowl game

by Jason Stone

Glendale Community College’s football team will not be going to an out-of-state bowl game, and its season is now over.
The 6-4 Gauchos were considered for the Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl in Salt Lake City, but the game chose in-state team Snow College and Rochester (Minn.) to play in the contest.
But it was not all a bad week for the Gauchos. Eight players were selected to the NJCAA All-Region 1 team — seven on the first team.
GCC also garnered eight picks on the All-Western States Football League team.
The Region 1 first-team included running back Johnny Lopez, wide receiver Eric McCain, offensive lineman Brett Leeds, defensive lineman Ronnie Tate, linebacker Torrey Huckaby, defensive back Reno Paccioni and punter Brian Pacheco.
Defensive lineman Jason Horn was a second-team selection.
On the WSFL team, Paccioni and Pacheco were first-team selections, while Lopez, McCain, Leeds, Tate and Huckaby were second-team picks.

Published at glendalestar.com • Nov. 29, 2004

colleges

Gauchos continue late-year roll

by Jason Stone

Glendale Community College’s football team is officially on a roll.
The Gauchos won their fifth straight game at Snow College in Utah last week — and luck was on their side in doing so.
Six-foot-five wide receiver Eric McCain, who was inserted into the game to try to block a game-winning field goal attempt, did just that, helping preserve GCC’s 23-21 road win.
“It got a little exciting there at the end,” GCC coach Joe Kersting said. “We were holding our breath. It was a wonderful bus ride home.”
The victory kept GCC in the national rankings and opened the possibility of the Gauchos playing a bowl game in Salt Lake City next month.
Scottsdale Community College wrapped up the Valley of the Sun Bowl bid by clinching the best record among Maricopa County schools, but GCC’s rebound from a 1-3 start has other bowls eying the team.
Additionally, if GCC beats Arizona Western Saturday and Scottsdale loses to Mesa, there could be a two or three-way tie for first place.
“To start off 1-3 and tie for conference championship, that would be great,” Kersting said.
Just like the whole season, GCC rallied in the game against Snow.
The Gauchos were down 14-0 after running only one offensive play, but scored 20 unanswered points the rest of the first half to take a six-point lead at the break.
“We just methodically out played them the rest of the game,” Kersting said.
A lengthy drive to start the second half only netted a field goal for GCC, but the Gauchos also ate up more than eight minutes of the clock in the process.
Snow returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to end the scoring.
Snow tried to win it at the end, when aided by a pass interference call, it moved the ball to the 12. GCC picked up a sack on the next play to set up a 37-yard field goal attempt.
Kersting put McCain in the middle of the line and the receiver swatted the ball away.
“They’re playing with a lot of confidence,” Kersting said. “Our players and coaches have just done a great job. I’m really proud of them.”

Published at glendalestar.com • Nov. 12, 2004

colleges

GCC pulls off huge win at Dixie

by Jason Stone

GCC running back Johnny Lopez picked a good night to have his best game ever.
An eight-hour bus ride to Utah didn’t slow down the Gauchos’ momentum as Lopez rushed for 242 yards in GCC’s 45-35 win at Dixie State last Saturday.
It was the Gauchos’ fourth win in a row and improved GCC’s overall record to 5-3 and Western States Football League mark to 5-2.
“The offensive line blew open a lot of holes and (Lopez) ran like a man possessed,” GCC coach Joe Kersting said.
Lopez, who entered this week 24 yards short of 1,000 for the season, was named the WSFL’s Player of the Week.
It was the most yards for a GCC back since Ramel McIntosh rushed for more than 260 against Phoenix College last year.
“It was quite an accomplishment, especially against Dixie State on the road,” Kersting said. “But we’re a pretty good team at this point and I don’t think (Dixie) knew that. They do now.”
In a game that was tied at 21, 28 and 35, GCC finally broke through with eight minutes to go in the game when Centennial High-product Marcus House returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to give GCC a 42-35 lead.
The Gauchos forced Dixie to punt, and drove the ball down to Dixie’s 5.
With a little less than two minutes left in the game, former Cactus High School kicker Nigel Ricks nailed a 22-yard field goal to provide the final margin.
“We’ve been improving every week,” Kersting said. “The players are really learning the concepts and learning the game.”
It was only GCC’s second win ever in St. George, Utah, and first since 1992.
The Gauchos have another tough task this week with a trip to Snow College, which is four hours farther.
“My worry is keeping healthy,” Kersting said. “(Dixie State) was really a physical game. We got beat up a lot. Those long road trips have an effect on you.”
Scottsdale can wrap up the host spot for the Valley of the Sun Bowl this week, but Kersting said GCC still has a “remote chance” of playing in another bowl somewhere.

Published at glendalestar.com • Nov. 4, 2004