San Gabriel Valley All-Stars trumped again

GLENDALE — Midway through the fifth batter of the game, San Gabriel Valley Babe Ruth 16-18 All-Star Coach Phil Torres had to make a difficult decision in removing starting pitcher Gary Acuna.

The usually reliable Acuna struggled early with his command, walking the first four batters of the game before being removed after tossing two balls to the fifth batter.

"Acuna is a real good pitcher and he wanted to pitch well, but we had to give ourselves a chance," Torres said after San Gabriel Valley was handed a 4-0 loss against Ottumwa, Iowa, on Monday night in an American Division pool-play game of the World Series at Ephrata High in Ephrata, Wash. "He's been reliable and I just feel bad for him.

"It was one of those things that he couldn't throw a strike and we just had to take him out."

Iowa scored three runs in the bottom of the first, the first coming on a bases-loaded walk and the next two on forceouts. Iowa scored its final run in the sixth and eliminated San Gabriel Valley, winner of three World Series championships since 2004, from possible advancement with one pool-play contest left at 2 p.m. today against Southeast.

San Gabriel Valley, featuring eight local players, saw relievers Erik Trask and Troy Mulcahey limit Iowa to three hits. Trask struck out two in 3 1/3 innings and Mulcahey finished up with five strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings. San Gabriel Valley also collected three hits, but couldn't mount a rally.

Mulcahey, Troy Prasertsit and Brennen Salgado each had a single for San Gabriel Valley (0-3 in the World Series).

"We couldn't get our offense going," said Torres, who also serves as Crescenta Valley High's baseball coach. "We hit the ball hard and it's right at somebody.

"We have another game and it's probably against the best team in our division. We have to show everybody we can play and go after them."

In Sunday's pool-play game against Columbia Basin, Wash., San Gabriel Valley lost, 8-4, but actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Andrew Medina had a run-scoring single to make it 1-0 before Mark Saatzer contributed a run-scoring double to extend the lead to 2-0.

San Gabriel Valley then struggled in the third, as it committed six errors and saw Columbia Basin take a 7-2 lead.

"It was the inning that didn't end," Torres said. "I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before and then we basically shut them down."

A Medina RBI single closed the deficit to 7-3 in the bottom of the third. Ted Boeke walked with the bases loaded to bring in San Gabriel Valley's final run in the sixth.

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