The Balboa baseball team jumped out to an early four-run lead against Galileo en route to a 5-3 victory Thursday in Academic Athletic Association play. It came one day after Balboa outlasted Galileo 1-0 and overcame Kyle Nelson’s no-hitter (Balboa scored its lone run on an error).
Galileo freshman Dylan Fong’s two-run single in the top of the fourth inning brought the Lions to within 4-3, however, Balboa senior reliever Branden Oropeza — who relieved Liam Calanog in the fourth inning — put out the fire, helping the Buccaneers maintain the lead.
Balboa senior Oliver Wald pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings for the save, helping the Buccaneers complete the two-game sweep over Galileo, and they now sit atop Division I with a 6-2 league record. Balboa is 10-9-2 overall.
“These two wins are huge,” Balboa coach Thomas Pontino said. “Our bullpen did a great job today. They walked a couple of guys, but they battled. We played good defense and fortunately we were able to get out of that pickle in the [fourth inning].”
With Balboa and Lowell (13-6, 5-3) already clinching playoff spots, Galileo (8-7, 4-4) will need to shake off this mini-slump quickly if it wants to participate in the AAA playoffs.
Galileo boasts arguably the best pitcher in the league in Nelson, but offensively, the Lions have struggled. In 21 innings against first-place Balboa, the Lions have mustered only four runs.
Galileo gets a chance to rebound next week against Lincoln.
“We didn’t put the ball in play and we struggled, which has been the case all season” Galileo coach Don Papa said. “[Balboa] hit the ball better than us today, they got walks and put pressure on our defense. We’ll keep battling though.”