By Jeremy Balan
Behind a 13-strikeout, complete-game performance from 2009 AAA Player of the Year Dylan Nelson and a clutch two-RBI double from Erik Wilson, Galileo Academy handed Lowell High School its first loss in league play with a 4-2 win at Moscone Recreation Center on Thursday.
Nelson threw 131 pitches in the game, often navigating out of jams caused by frequent Galileo (14-12, 9-3) errors.
“It was my goal to throw a complete game, but I wanted to shut them out,” Nelson said. “My best pitch was my slider today. I just started throwing that about two weeks ago and I don’t think anyone made contact with it. It was really sharp.”
Nelson allowed only two hits, one earned run and only had one ball leave the infield, on a double from Lowell senior first baseman Nick Allen in the third.
“Dylan did a great job against us,” said Lowell Head Coach John Donohue. “What I really like about him is that he doesn’t walk people. His curveball is usually a strike and you know that coming in.”
With the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Galileo junior first baseman Dustin Andrick led off with a triple to right field and with Nelson coming up, Donohue opted to walk him intentionally.
That set the stage for Wilson, who a lined double to center field, plating two runs with the game-winning hit.
“I’m just happy to win,” Wilson said. “When I was up there, I was just thinking about a [sacrifice] fly or something like that, but I came up with something big. It’s always nice to win against Lowell.”
Standing on second base after a steal, Nelson was confident Wilson would come through.
“[Wilson] doesn’t usually like to have all that pressure on him, he likes to play more loose, but when the walked me, I told him to stay short and hit a line drive and he hit a pretty big line drive out there,” Nelson said.
Galileo, which has struggled scoring runs at times this season, also got a key hit from junior catcher Young Ene, who crushed a solo home run down the left field line to break a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning.
Lowell senior starting pitcher Sam Mallonee only allowed four runs (three earned) over six innings, striking out five, but could not get enough support from the Cardinals offense. Lowell stranded nine runners on base.
“Sammy pitched a good game for us too, we just weren’t able to get some of those runners home to help him out,” Donohue said.
The win puts Galileo in control of its own destiny in the playoff race, only needing to win 1-of-2 games against Washington next week to lock up a playoff spot.
“It’s a big win because we would have had to beat Washington twice [if we lost],” said Galileo Head Coach Don Papa. “Now we’re in control. If we win twice, we’re in second place. If we lose twice, we’re probably on the cusp in fourth place.”
Lowell (21-7, 11-1) cliched a playoff birth with a win over Galileo on Wednesday, but will have to win 1-of-2 games against Lincoln next week to secure first place in the A Division.