Heading into his scheduled start against Academic Athletic Association foe Balboa, Lowell senior pitcher Elan Lavie hadn’t exactly racked up a lot of time on the mound for the Cardinals.
His exact number of innings pitched this season? One.
Lavie matched that number and much, much more Thursday, pitching a complete-game five-hitter to lead Lowell to a 5-2 win over Balboa at Crocker Amazon, their second defeat of the Buccaneers in as many days.
After surrendering a two-run homer to Balboa (9-10-1, 7-2 AAA) star Nik Fangonilo in the first inning, Lavie was nearly untouchable, allowing just two more hits while striking out seven for the Cardinals (13-5, 9-1), who moved 1½ games ahead of the Buccaneers in the Division A standings.
"I found my curveball after a couple of innings and I was able to work well with that," said Lavie, who also went 1-for-4 with an RBI. "My fastball is usually my strikeout pitch, but my curve was real sharp at the end of the game, so I was able to find a nice balance with my pitches."
Offensively, Lavie was helped by leadoff hitter Max Newman, who scored Lowell’s first run after roping a double in the first inning, then capped off his 2-for-4 performance with a home run in the top of the seventh to account for the Cardinals’ last run of the contest.
After falling behind 2-1, the Cardinals got two runs in the top of the second courtesy of RBIs from Louis Buchbinder and Carter Rockwell. Lowell scored another run in the fifth after Derek Figueras walked and eventually advanced home after a series of errors by the Buccaneers. Newman’s home run in the top of the seventh capped off the scoring for both teams.
"We’re still hitting the ball well, but Elan really carried us today," said Lowell coach John Donohue, whose team will play Lincoln of Portland, Ore., today at 11 a.m. "Any time our starting pitcher can pick up a lot of innings and save some of our arms, it’s huge."
The Balboa players, who lost their lead in the Division A standings with their back-to-back losses to Lowell, remained upbeat after the tough loss.
"We’ve got to keep working hard and come out and play better baseball," Fangonilo said. "I think we’ll play better against them when it really matters."
Small Schools Bridge League
Orinda Academy 8, Jewish Community 6
ORINDA — Catcher Adam Rosenbloom hit a two-out, two-run homer to highlight a six-run third inning, but the Wolves lost their season opener to the Eagles (1-0) in a Small Schools Bridge League game.
— Staff report