NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Naturally, as a baseball season winds down, there's concerns that play and, perhaps even more importantly, effort might tail off a bit.
But the Glendale Angelenos have made a concerted effort to avoid falling into that trap, recording their third straight shutout Friday evening with an 8-0 win over the Los Angeles Brewers at Stengel Field.
Cory Popham (5-0) allowed only three hits and three walks in a shutout performance and the Angelenos (37-9) pounded 18 hits as they wind down to the final four games of the season.
"Everybody did their job tonight," Angelenos Coach Tony Riviera said. "There were no weaknesses. Defensively, we were outstanding. We made some really key defensive plays that could've allowed them to score, but we were able to contain them and shut their game down.
"When you're towards the end of the season, some guys start slacking off. We have addressed that and made sure guys understand they're going to have to grind it out the next four or five days. And there's no question tonight that they will grind it out and finish on a positive note."
The Angelenos pounded out 10 hits between the third and fourth innings to take a 5-0 lead.
Scott Hong and Ellis Whitman each singled to lead off the third inning — both scored. And Hong tacked on another run in the fourth before clean-up hitter Pedro Aldape smacked a two-run shot over the left-field fence.
Aldape, who finished one for five with three runs batted in, homered with two outs and a full count. Whitman went two for five and Danny Casey finished three for five.
Sako Chapjian led off the seventh inning being struck by a pitch. He took second on Aldape's groundout and third on Casey's single. Michael Robinson then proceeded to bat both in with a double down the left-field line for a 7-0 cushion.
He finished three for four with two runs scored, the latter giving Glendale its final run.
"I thought we'd get close to the end of the season and guys would be worse — and we've dwindled down in numbers and all — but with the limited number on the pitching staff, our guys have stepped up and done really well," said Hong, who finished four for four with two runs scored and a walk.
Popham wanted to go the distance on Friday in what was his last game on the mound for the Angelenos.
"Tony told me before the game that he wanted to extend me out and throw me more innings, and I knew to do that I had to attack hitters early and get contact early," said Popham, who's transferring to the University of Pacific. "Knowing it was my last game, I wanted to throw as long as I could. I didn't feel like I had my best stuff tonight, but the guys were great behind me in the field. So I knew if I could throw strikes and force contract, I was going to throw well."
Through three innings, Glendale had stranded six base runners, including a bases-loaded situation in the third. Hong and Ellis singled and eventually scored. Then with two outs, Casey, Robinson and Matthew Tellesco singled to load the bases. That's when Erik Suarez struck out to close out the innings with Glendale ahead, 2-0.
The Angelenos loaded the base again in the ensuing inning.
Ruben Padilla led off with a double and Hong and Whitman singled. Glendale had loaded the bases again, though this time with no outs. Chapjian's sacrifice fly scored Padila and then Aldape sent a two-run bomb over the left-field fence for a 5-0 lead.
"Those opportunities obviously you don't want to miss them; things happen in baseball," Hong said. "But when the next chances came up, we capitalized."