NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Coach Tony Riviera likened the Glendale Angelenos to moving into a new home after the California Collegiate League baseball team began its inaugural season Wednesday night.
"You move into the new house and you are scrambling to get everything in order," Riviera said after Glendale suffered a 4-1 nonleague home loss to the East L.A. Blue Dodgers in the club's first-ever game at Stengel Field. "I don't think it was nerves as much as being a little on the unprepared side.
"We moved in a few hours before the game, putting on new uniforms and trying to find the equipment. These first couple of games will be about getting acclimated."
It took Glendale some time to adjust to its new environment, as the Angelenos surrendered three first-inning runs.
Most of the Angelenos competed for the first time in nearly three weeks, perhaps lending credence to some early game struggles.
Glendale starting pitcher Sean Wardour, who last pitched three weeks ago, got into immediate trouble in the top of the first inning.
The right-hander from Cal State Dominguez Hills loaded the bases by walking lead-off hitter Robert Dey before hitting Ricardo Arias with a pitch. He then gave up a single to Jeremy Glunt to load the bases.
Wardour then hit Carlos Rodriguez with a pitch to make it 1-0 before giving up back-to-back run-scoring singles to Lester Salcedo and Paul Franco.
"I just had a tough first inning and it had been almost a month since I last pitched," said Wardour, who went three innings in the loss. "I was getting out the jitters and then I started to throw some first-pitch strikes in the second inning. I've been changing my mechanics lately to help me throw harder."
The Angelenos, who will meet the Dodgers in another contest at 6:30 p.m. today at Stengel before beginning league competition with a home game against Team Vegas on Friday, cut into the lead with a run in the third.
Juan Perez sliced a double to left-center field for Glendale's first hit of the game and its history and then moved to second on a grounder to first by Niko Garcia. Perez then scored on a grounder to third by Erik Scott.
"It's been three weeks since I've seen live pitching, so I just wanted to stay with the same approach I had all year and that's get my hands through and hit the ball [to the opposite field]," said Perez, a shortstop. "It's good to get the first hit and I took off [for home plate] on the grounder to score.
"I got the opportunity to do something and I wanted to get it done."
The Angelenos nearly made it 3-2 in the third. With two outs Glendale Community College's Sako Chapjian drove a double to the gap in right-center. However, two accurate throws nailed fellow Vaquero Ellis Whitman at the plate. Whitman, who got on base after being hit by a pitch, tried to score from first.
The Dodgers, who compete in the Western Baseball Assn., closed out the scoring in the seventh when Glendale reliever Greg Astor walked Salcedo on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded.
The Angelenos, who have 10 players from Glendale college on the squad, also received a fourth-inning double from Alex Muren.
Riviera said the Angelenos were eager to take the field and begin a new chapter of baseball in the community.
"It's just exciting to be out here, and I'm very happy with a lot of things that I saw," Riviera said.