PASADENA — Throughout most of the regular season and the first tier of the postseason, the members of the Arroyo Seco Saints rarely found themselves trailing in a game.
It didn’t take long for the Saints, a Palomino baseball team featuring a slew of local players, to find themselves in that position Tuesday night during the championship game of the PONY Southern California Regional at Jackie Robinson Field.
Arroyo Seco surrendered four first-inning runs and suffered a 10-5 loss to the Colton Nighthawks.
“This was a good eye-opener for us because we’ve been having an easy time beating teams based on our talent alone,” said Saints Coach Aaron Milam, who also is the St. Francis High baseball coach. “We’ve haven’t really been in situations where we’ve had to battle back.
“It’s a good indicator being down, 7-0, that we could come back and score some runs. Now, we see what we can learn from this going forward.”
Arroyo Seco (25-5) had already clinched one of the two berths from the tournament on Monday with a 6-1 win against the Arcadia Astros to advance to the West Zone Tournament, which will be held beginning Friday at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton. It will face the San Jose Giants at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Colton, which will be the top seed from the region and will face the Ventura Devil Rays in an opening-round contest at 1:30 p.m. Friday, received a three-run home run from Daniel Arellano following a pair of infield singles in the bottom of the first to grab a 3-0 advantage. The Nighthawks (31-4) made it 4-0 in the first on a passed ball.
After Colton scored three runs in the second to take a 7-0 lead, Arroyo Seco, which had won the regional the previous two years, scored three runs in the third to cut into the deficit to 7-3. A two-run double by Corey Dempster made it 7-2, followed by a run-scoring single by JJ Muno that made it 7-3.
“We stayed with it, but we just came up short,” said Dempster, a center fielder who finished with three runs batted in.
Colton scored three runs in the fourth to make it 10-3. Arroyo Seco received a run-scoring single by Dempster to make it 10-4. An error by the Colton second baseman made it 10-5.
Ryan Dobson scored a pair of runs for the Saints, who finished with eight hits. Dempster, Dobson and Cameron Silva had two hits apiece.