Saints run out of rallies in title defeat

PASADENA — They rallied from a three-run deficit to tie the score in the fourth.

Then they came back from another three-run hole to knot the score at 6 in the sixth.

But by the time the seventh inning started, they ran out of comebacks.

Locals A.J. Berglund, David Hubinger and Mark Saatzer and the rest of the Arroyo Seco Saints showed their resiliency, but they also surrendered two runs in the bottom half of the sixth and went quietly in the seventh.

The Colton Nighthawks couldn't muster a hit against Berglund, a St. Francis High graduate, but they used a pair of walks and two hit batsmen to produce their sixth-inning runs, as they came away with an 8-6 victory Tuesday in the championship game of the Southern California Palomino League Regional Tournament at Jackie Robinson Field.

"It was a good game," said Arroyo Seco Coach Aaron Milam, who is also an assistant baseball coach at St. Francis. "It was up and down. Back and forth."

The Saints will next compete against Arizona's Ahwatukee Sting at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in a first-round game of the West Zone Tournament at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton. The West Zone features eight teams competing in a double-elimination tournament. The top two teams from each of the two pools of the Southern California Tournament advanced to Compton.

"We'll be at full strength next week," Milam said.

He also said his team wasn't healthy Tuesday night.

"We were beat up, arms-wise," Milam said. "We didn't have a [pitcher] going six innings. The guys were a bit tired."

His starting pitcher, Tony Rosado, was tagged for three runs in the bottom of the first. All those runs came on a Drake Zarate home run to straightaway center field.

"That kind of set the tempo for them," Milam said. "We shouldn't have done that."

Arroyo Seco tried to pitch around Zarate for the remainder of the game, but he still managed to cause damage. He reached on an error and scored in the fourth inning and Berglund hit him in the back with no one on base in the sixth.

A hit batsman and walk later, Zarate scored the go-ahead run when Berglund issued a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded.

"Things just didn't go my way," Berglund said. "I have to put this game behind me."

Arroyo Seco forgot about its early struggles to score one run in the third and two more in the fourth to tie the score. Saatzer, a St. Francis High graduate, tied the score at 3 when he scored on a sacrifice fly.

"We just have this attitude that no matter how many runs we're down and who is pitching, we can compete," said Hubinger, who'll be a senior in the fall at St. Francis. "We worked hard, it just didn't pay off."

Colton added another three runs in the fourth before Arroyo Seco plated three runs in the sixth.

"This team doesn't like to lose," Milam said. "It's been a good and bad thing for us all year. They play to their competition. The challenge for a coach is to play better than the competition."

Milam doesn't know what to expect from the competition in the next tournament.

"They're going to get rest for the next three days," he said. "Then, I expect them to come out firing. We're going to bring it."

Added Saatzer: "We know what we're going to do. It doesn't matter what they are going to do."

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