GLENDALE — Getting runners on base and into scoring position wasn't a problem for the Arroyo Seco Saints baseball team. Capitalizing on the scoring chances proved to be a different matter.
Arroyo Seco left nine runners on base, including six in scoring position, in a season-ending 8-4 loss to the San Mateo White Sox on Monday afternoon in an elimination contest of the Southern California Palomino West Zone Tournament at MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton.
"We battled with San Mateo, but we left too many runners on base," said Arroyo Seco Coach Aaron Milam, whose team split its first two tournament games. "We had runners in scoring position with runners on second and third three times and we couldn't get it done.
"San Mateo's guys also made some nice plays. We hit some balls hard, but right at them."
The Saints, who have two St. Francis players on the team, received one hit apiece from Golden Knights David Hubinger and Mark Saatzer. Arroyo Seco, which advanced to the tournament after reaching the championship game of the Southern California Regional at Jackie Robinson Field on July 27, trailed, 6-2, in the third inning. Arroyo Seco's Chester Pak cut the lead to 6-4 with a two-run double with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. However, San Mateo restored its four-run lead with a two-run sixth.
Arroyo Seco finished with seven hits.
"It was a game in which things didn't go our way from the start," said Milam, a St. Francis assistant whose Saints team finished at 30-9-1. "We were able to fight back, though.
"The experience was great and the Palomino League is so well organized. That makes it easier to run your own team. It was a great experience for the players."
The Saints started off the tournament Saturday with a 4-2 victory against the Ahwatukee Sting of Arizona. Arroyo Seco scored three runs in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead.
They got their runs on run-scoring doubles from Pak and Kamran Young and a suicide squeeze by Michael Soucy.
"We weren't focused at the start of the game," said Milam, who saw Saatzer score on Young's double and finish with a pair of hits. "It was 0-0 nearing the middle of the game and then we scored those three runs."
On Sunday, the Saints suffered a 9-4 loss to the Colton Nighthawks, who won the Southern California Regional with an 8-6 victory against Arroyo Seco. Kevin Williams of Arroyo Seco belted a three-run home run in the fourth to make it 9-4.
"We played good ball against them, but that's a team that can just hit very well," Milam said.