Arroyo Seco Saints stymied by Puerto Rico

COMPTON — Perhaps there’s no easier or simpler way to describe the Arroyo Seco Saints 19U baseball team’s loss than to say it suffered a lost evening Friday in Palomino World Series action.

The Saints’ march to a series title was derailed in one half inning, as the visiting Bayamon Vaqueros of Puerto Rico scored 12 runs on nine hits in the top of the second before eventually settling on a 16-4 victory in five innings in the second round of tournament action at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy.

With the defeat, the Saints (32-6) will try to recover and rebound Saturday at 1 p.m. versus the Central Michigan Stars in a second-chance elimination game.

Should Arroyo Seco win, then it would face the Vaqueros in a rematch, also Saturday at 7 p.m. on the showcase field.

“Hey, Puerto Rico is a very, very good team with players that live together in an academy and they put it to us, they hit us hard,” said Arroyo Seco Saints Coach Aaron Milam, whose team had its six-game postseason winning streak snapped. “They jumped on us, they didn’t really surprise us, they just beat us.

“We had to match their energy and we didn’t do that and hopefully we’ll do that if we get a chance to play them again.”

What Puerto Rico accomplished Friday evening was special on several fronts.

The Vaqueros’ final 16-run tally was slightly less than the Saints’ six-game total of 18 runs allowed en route to a West Zone Tournament championship.

In the second alone, Puerto Rico sent 17 batters to the plate who faced 58 pitches from two Saints pitchers in taking a 14-0 lead.

Scoring hits in the second were a three-run triple from leadoff batter Christian Padin, a three-run double from left fielder Juan Soriano and a two run-scoring single from Christopher Gonzalez with additional singles from Francisco Sanchez, Jan Cintron and Walter Vives.

Saints pitchers also didn’t help their cause with three walks, while the defense also committed an error.

It was an error that kick-started Puerto Rico’s scoring in the first.

With two outs, Vaqueros third baseman Gonzalez grounded to short and caught a break when his ball was bobbled and eventually dropped by the infielder.

Puerto Rico’s next batter, Vives, coaxed a five-pitch walk from starting pitcher DJ Milam, before he and Gonzalez both came home on a clutch two-run double from designated hitter Eduardo Jimenez.

The two-bagger screamed down the third-base line past diving infielder JJ Muno and put Arroyo Seco behind for the first time since Monday’s West Zone Tournament semifinal.

Puerto Rico also scored a run in the third on a solo homer to right from Ricardo Sanchez and a run in the fourth on a double from Christian Bracero.

To its credit, Arroyo Seco continued to battle and broke up a one-hitter with four runs on three hits in the fourth inning.

Crescenta Valley product Cameron Silva delivered the big blow when the current Pasadena City College player crushed a first-pitch offering from Vaqueros starter Jorge Jimenez for a two-run home run to left, which scored fellow one-time Falcon Pat Adams, who reached on an error.

“I got a good fastball in my zone and I hit it,” Silva said. “Their pitcher had trouble controlling his curveball and I was waiting for something to hit. I just wish it would have helped more than it did.”

Prior to Silva’s homer, right fielder Josh Clark delivered a two-run double earlier in the inning that plated Chris Devito (walk) and Ryan Dobson (walk).

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