With three losses in four games, the last thing the Pasadena Saints needed was a hot opponent.
They ran into a scorcher yesterday.
San Diego continued its domination of the Continental Amateur Baseball Association 18-and-under World Series with an 11-0 trouncing of the Saints at Arundel High School in a game that was halted after five innings by the 10-run rule.
The California All-Star team was 5-0 going into last night's game against Brooklyn (N.Y.) at Joe Cannon Stadium. It has won championships the past two years at different levels, and has outscored its opponents in this tournament, 49-11.
San Diego's closest call occurred Tuesday night, when it fell behind, 4-1, to Indiana and trailed, 6-5, with two outs in the seventh inning. But Denny McAdams crushed a two-run homer that landed in the school's parking lot.
"As soon as he hit it, with that trajectory, I said, 'That's it,' " said San Diego coach John Crawford, enjoying the chance to relive the moment.
He had plenty of reason to revel in yesterday's outcome, as well.
San Diego led, 8-0, before its pitcher had faced the whole Pasadena batting order once. It walloped three more homers, including a pair of two-run shots from catcher Carlos Acuna. And displaying as much speed as it has power, San Diego stole four bases in the first two innings and had two players go from first to third on a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch.
Crawford sat out most of his regulars to start the game, but that didn't make Pasadena starting pitcher Ryan Kenealy feel any better.
Kenealy, 15, is the youngest member of the team. He played most of the summer for the Saints' 16-and-under squad, but was added to the roster to provide some needed pitching depth.
And, as it turned out, to serve as yesterday's sacrificial lamb.
"I was just thinking about not getting rocked," said Kenealy, who went the first three innings before being relieved by Old Mill's Justin Greshko. He gave up eight runs (seven earned) and eight hits, walked one and struck out one.
"They've got some nice power," said Pasadena coach Tom Caines, whose team had a game last night against Tennessee. "My kids did a nice job. They tried. We've run short of pitching and have some kids trying to pitch that haven't been starters all year long. They're trying to do the job and I give them a lot of credit."
Kenealy served up two-run homers to Danny Gil and Acuna in the first inning, and needed 30 pitches to retire the side.
"He just stayed right in there and hung in and gave us his best. That's all you can ask of the kids," Caine said.
San Diego increased its lead to 5-0 in the second inning on a single and two stolen bases from J.J. Laub and a Jose Lorenzana single to center. Acuna's second two-run homer made it 7-0 in the third, and John Mozerra added another run later in the inning when he singled and moved to third on a Kenealy wild pitch and scored on an errant pickoff throw.
An RBI single from Ames Crawford and a throwing error gave San Diego two more runs in the fourth, and a fielder's choice grounder from Crawford increased the lead to 11-0 in the fifth.
The Saints' Scott Rey tried to extend the game at least another inning when he drilled a two-out double to left in the bottom of the fifth, but he was stranded at second.
The only other Pasadena hits came from Jason Siemer, who singled in the first and fourth innings. Rey reached on an error to lead off the third, but he was wiped out on a double play.
"This team is better than us, there's no doubt about that," Caine said.
It could have been worse. Two of San Diego's best players from last season were drafted by the Oakland A's and Kansas City Royals, leaving its coach with no other alternative than to make do with this collection of talent.
And that seems to be quite enough for this tournament, which concludes Monday.
As for the Saints, "Realistically, I think we'll be in the consolation
bracket," Caines said. "I'd like to win a couple games in that. The kids are good ballplayers."