World Series, state ascents highlight baseball and softball summer seasons
Arroyo Seco Saints, Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior and CV Minor All-Star teams enjoy finest seasons in 2013.
The Arroyo Seco Saints 19U baseball team, which boasted nine local players, were one of several area squads that enjoyed successful summer runs. (Raul Roa/File Photo)
Some local teams repeated achievements from a year ago, like the Arroyo Seco Saints run to the Palomino World Series and the Crescenta Valley-Foothill Junior All-Star softball team’s appearance in the Southern California State tournament.
Other teams had the joy of soaking up all new experiences and success. After a wild walk-off game in the District Tri-Cities tournament, the Crescenta Valley Kiwanis and Aristo minor softball teams joined forces for a Crescenta Valley 9-10 All-Star softball run in which they racked up District 16 and Section 2 titles and advanced to the Southern California State Championship final – going as far as a 9-10 team could possibly go.
Many players stood out on diamonds across the area before taking their talents to other regions. And there were plenty of wild moments along the way, from forfeits and walk-offs to surprise late additions to regional rounds.
The following is a recap of the area's Little League season:
With several local players and St. Francis High Coach Aaron Milam on board again, the Arroyo Seco Saints enjoyed another successful summer and matched the program’s best finish with a trip to the Palomino World Series semifinal in consecutive years.
“This team is everything to me. They have that fighting mentality and I love to be a part of it,” said Patrick Adams, a Crescenta Valley High product and Saint, after Arroyo Seco’s season-ending loss to Puerto Rico on Friday. “This has been a great experience to be on a team that battles every game and I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Arroyo Seco began the postseason competing in the PONY Southern California Regional Tournament at Jackie Robinson Field in Pasadena. It reached the championship game before falling, 10-5, to the Colton Nighthawks. The Saints grabbed one of the two spots from the tournament to advance to the West Zone Tournament in Compton.
Things appeared to turn south when Arroyo Seco lost consecutive games, as it opened the West Zone with a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Giants. The Saints rode the dip and continued to climb back up by winning their next five games to advance to the World Series. They stamped their ticket to the next round with a 6-3 victory over the South Bay Legacy.
“You have two teams with players going to big-time colleges and it’s about trending and making big plays,” Milam said.
Back in Compton, the Saints started the World Series off with a 13-0 win against Indonesia. Arroyo Seco then ran into a Puerto Rico squad that proved too much to overcome. It first fell to the eventual runner-up team, 16-4, before the Saints rebounded with a dominating 14-1 win over Central Michigan.
While Arroyo Seco played much better in the rubber match with Puerto Rico, it was doomed by one inning — a four-run, three-hit second frame.
“I’d love to play Puerto Rico 20 more times because when you play teams that are better than you, they make you play better,” Milam said. “Every year, the season has ended with a loss and it’s difficult because this team is part of my family.
“I’m definitely satisfied we were able to make it this far and am proud of our accomplishments.”
BABE RUTH ALL-STARS
It appeared the La Crescenta Babe Ruth 14-year-old team’s season was over when it lost both games to Westchester in the Babe Ruth state tournament, which it hosted at Dunsmore Park and Stengel Field.
A phone call put La Crescenta back in action when it was invited to the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament in Surprise, Ariz. when another team dropped out. It kept the season alive for La Crescenta and sent the group on to the regional round for the first time under coach Marcel Martinez.
La Crescenta opened state strong, with a 31-1 win against Heartwell, before falling to Westchester, 8-0. La Crescenta mercied Heartwell again, 11-1, to advance to the championship round where it fell again to Westchester, 7-3.