Lowell, Washington will meet for AAA baseball title at AT&T Park 

The Academic Athletic Association-San Francisco Section baseball semifinals went in favor of the top two teams in Division I, setting up a rematch of last year's championship game at AT&T Park.

At Nealon Diamond at Big Rec Playground, Washington took care of Galileo High School 10-0 in five innings, while Lowell outlasted Balboa 5-1 behind a complete game from junior pitcher Craig Colen.

"All of our games against Lowell have been close this season and we're ready to try to play our best against them," Washington coach Rob Fung said. "It's good to win this one and go over and play in the big park."

Washington senior pitcher Sean Mathews averted a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first inning, by forcing Galileo to hit into a 6-4-3 double-play. That was the only threat Mathews faced all day as he cruised behind an offense that ended up scoring more than enough.

"The defense was clean behind him, and we needed that because [Sean] struggled early," Fung said. "They're a playoff team, so we knew they'd get base hits, but we were fortunate enough to get out of that early jam."

The Eagles (12-14) were fortunate enough to avoid Lions senior ace Kyle Nelson. Nelson -- who has a league leading ERA of 0.86 with a whopping 86 strikeouts in only 49 innings -- was ruled out of this semifinal due to a sore arm.

"We had to go with one of our young guys because [Nelson] tweaked and strained his ligament in his pitching elbow," Galileo coach Greg Papa said. "He's coming around, but he's only 80 percent so we didn't want to push it."

Meanwhile at neighboring Graham Diamond, Colen -- who came into the game with a 1.56 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 49 innings -- pitched Lowell (18-9) into the championship. Colen went the distance, pitching seven innings and striking out nine while giving up six hits as the Cardinals beat Balboa for the fourth time this season.

"Colen did a fantastic job pitching today and getting us back to AT&T Park," said Lowell coach John Donohue, who won his 700th career game earlier this season. "With Colen pitching, we don't think we need to score a lot of runs."

Washington beat Lowell two of three times this season, but all three games were decided by one run and low-scoring battles

Lowell defeated Washington in last season's AAA championship 7-0. This year's championship is set for Tuesday at 3:45 p.m.

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Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014

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