GLENDALE — The California Collegiate League All-Star break, which begins Monday, comes none too soon for the Glendale Angelenos, who are beginning to feel the grind after a month of near-daily games.
Coming off Tuesday's doubleheader in San Luis Obispo, from which the team didn't return home until the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the Angelenos stayed competitive early in a nonleague game against the Southern California A's on Wednesday night at Stengel Field, but went flat over the course of a 6-3 loss.
Glendale (15-14) was held to a single run on five hits over the final six innings of the game, which could be kept close by clutch defensive plays for only so long before the A's began to pull away from the sixth inning on.
"Guys are just worn down," Angelenos Coach Tony Riviera said. "It's beatdown time. We've got three weeks left and we've really got to pick it up a notch. Yeah, we're all wounded, we're all hurt, we're all tired, but we've still got to play baseball. We didn't come here to play half a season."
The A's (16-9) struck for two runs in the top of the first inning against Angelenos starter Nick Plantz, who hit leadoff batter Greg Hemrock with a hit pitch and later saw him score on a double to deep right field by Andrew Mistone. Mistone would score two batters later on an error.
Glendale, which rested three of its 10 All-Star position players and looked to the left-hander Plantz to make a spot start, would come right back in the bottom of the second in similar fashion.
John Schwer took one between the shoulder blades to start the one-out rally, went to second on a walk by Austin Walker, stole third and scored on a single by Matt Telesco to make it 2-1.
With the bases loaded later in the frame, Walker tried to score on a shallow fly ball hit by Franco Broyles and found himself caught in a rundown between third and home, but scored the tying run on a throwing error.
Plantz got through the next 2 1/3 innings with just one baserunner allowed to preserve the tie, but complained of arm soreness after throwing his first pitch to Brian Seymour in the top of the fifth and was replaced by Devon Ramirez.
"He's a guy that we always looked at for a rotational guy," Riviera said of Platz. "He just felt like a little pull or a tear or something. He had surgery before, so we just wanted to make sure that it didn't go any further and he has a chance to take a look at it."
Ramirez was greeted by a single to center field by Seymour and proceeded to hit Hemrock to put runners on first and second with one out before wiggling free of the jam on an infield popup and a 7-2 putout on an assist from Walker in left field on a basehit by Mistone, leading to a play at the plate where Seymour's slide into home was blocked Josh Goosen-Brown.
When Angelenos reliever Kaz Halcovich ran into even bigger trouble after taking over in the sixth — loading the bases with no outs before allowing a go-ahead run on a flare single by Justin Herrera — it was another fine outfield assist that limited the damage.
Center fielder Aaron Brown started an 8-2 double play and threw a dart to Goosen-Brown to get Cody Doyle at the plate.
But the Angelenos wouldn't dodge anymore bullets, as the A's added three runs in the top of the seventh off Halcovich and Nick Rodarte.
Held in check by A's starter Josh Grijalva and reliever Jacob Valenzuela throughout the night, the Angelenos would notch their first hits since the bottom of the third inning in the seventh, when pinch-hitter Niko Garcia (two for two) doubled with one out and scored on Brown's two-out chopper.