COMPTON — After a week that included four straight one-run games and an exciting tournament finale, the Arroyo Seco Saints 19U baseball team enjoyed a rare reprieve Thursday afternoon.
The West Zone champions spared all the drama by scoring 10 runs through the first two innings and started off the Palomino World Series Tournament with an easy 13-0 win over visiting Jakarta, Indonesia in a five-inning game at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton.
“We weren’t going to take anything for granted this year, especially with what happened to us last year in the first round,” Saints Coach Aaron Milam said in reference to Arroyo Seco’s 17-8 defeat to Chinese Taipei Taiwan in last year’s first game of the World Series. “We had no expectations for Indonesia, just for ourselves, which was to play our best and not overlook anybody.”
The victory was the sixth straight in the postseason for Arroyo Seco (32-5), which advances to Friday’s second round against either the Central Michigan Stars or the Vaqueros of Bayamon, Puerto Rico at 7:30 p.m. on the Showcase Field at the same venue. Indonesia will attempt to rebound Friday morning at 10:30 in the second-chance bracket.
Offensively, the Saints were unstoppable, scoring 13 runs on 13 hits with six of those being of the extra-base variety.
Already leading, 4-0, through 1 1/2 innings, the Saints iced the game in the bottom half of the second with a six spot.
A single from Carter Hodge and a walk to leadoff batter Ryan Dobson (two runs) were immediately converted into runs when Loyola High graduate Brandon Caruso (two for three with a double, triple, three runs and three runs batted in) continued his torrid postseason hitting with a two-run double past diving third baseman Guiddo Purba that put the Saints ahead, 6-0.
Two pitches later, Caruso came home on a run-scoring single from Corey Dempster that gave Arroyo Seco a 7-0 lead, which surpassed the Saints’ best offensive outcome from the West Zone Tournament.
Even though Indonesia’s female starting pitcher, Ashilla Safiya, coaxed a double play in the following at-bat, the Saints continued their offensive onslaught.
Safiya plunked Josh Clark (double and three runs), while the next batter, Crescenta Valley High product Troy Prasertsit (two for three with two RBI and a run), singled to put runners on the corners.
Clark and Prasertsit then scored as pinch hitter Christian Keamy laced a two-run double into the right-center gap that pushed Arroyo Seco’s lead to 9-0.
That double was followed by another two-bagger from Patrick Adams (Crescenta Valley) that propelled the Saints into double digits and capped their scoring in the inning as Arroyo Seco went ahead, 10-0.
“We just kept our focus and expected to face a really good team because we faced one last year and lost,” Clark said. “We worried about our own problems and as a host wanted to represent America well and not give Indonesia a bad idea about us.”
Arroyo Seco stated the game with four runs in the first, with those scores coming on a triple from Caruso, a double from Clark, a run-scoring groundout from Prasertsit and a wild pitch.
The Saints concluded their scoring in the third with three runs thanks to a double from Chris Devito, a single from Prasertsit and another wild pitch.
Perhaps lost in the offensive fireworks was a dominant effort from the Saints pitching staff, led by San Marino High’s Jeff Bain.
The incoming senior shined with scouts from the University of Oregon in attendance, as Bain fanned six in three innings while not allowing a hit.
The trio of Bain and relievers Andres Kim (St. Francis) and Leo Hernandez combined for a no-hitter.
“I know people are out there, but that can’t affect the way I pitch. I get the call from my catcher and I just throw,” said Bain, who may have tossed his last game with the Saints because of his involvement in the Area Code Games next week. “There are a lot of commitments and games coming up for me, so I just wanted to pitch my best.”