Baseball: Washington bats awaken against Galileo to keep playoff hopes alive

Washington senior left fielder Alex Kawano connects for a triple in the third inning against Galileo on Thursday at Moscone Recreation Center. (Photo by Jeremy Balan)

By Jeremy Balan

Washington High School’s bats finally woke up and they did so at the perfect time.

Needing a win to secure an outside shot at the playoffs, the Eagles (19-10, 9-5) scored a season-high 27 runs in a 27-2, five-inning victory over Galileo on Thursday at Moscone Recreation Center. Washington has struggled offensively at times this season and hasn’t scored more than six runs in AAA play since March.

“It was our Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde offense. When it rains, it pours and it was pouring today,” said Washington Head Coach Rob Fung.

The win puts Washington in a three-way tie for the last two playoff spots in the A Division of the AAA, with Balboa and Lincoln. All three teams will be entered into a drawing at 10 a.m. today to decide the third place team and the remaining two teams will have a one-game playoff for the final postseason spot, most likely to be played on Monday.

What made the offensive explosion more impressive was that it came against Galileo ace Dylan Nelson. The Eagles hit Nelson early and often, striking for 14 runs (10 earned) in his three innings of work.

“He just didn’t have his ball working and we had difficulty with the pitcher-catcher exchange,” Galileo Head Coach Don Papa said. “He relied on his fastball and not on his other stuff and they hit it and found holes. We didn’t beat ourselves. They beat us.”

Each Washington starter had at least one hit, let by four-hit performances from Alex Kozakiewicz, Jumaane Bowdry, Avery Velasco and Paul Duchene. Duchene, a junior and Velasco, a sophomore, had four RBIs each.

“[Duchene] has started for us since he was a freshman and had an outstanding sophomore season, but this year he’s struggled a little bit,” Fung said. “We’ve always known he’s capable of doing those things. He’s been struggling all year. This was a game he needed to have.”

Duchene hit one of two Washington home runs in the game, with a two-run blast down the left field line in the fourth inning. Sophomore second baseman Dane Vande Guchte had the other home run, on a solo shot to lead off the second inning.

Washington starting pitcher Jumaane Bowdry throws on Thursday. (Photo by Jeremy Balan)

“Today was a good day for us because we had to step up,” Duchene said. “We answered the call today. We really knew we had to come out and prove ourselves today.”

Somewhat lost in the flurry of offense was a solid performance from Bowdry, Washington’s starting pitcher. Bowdry allowed two unearned runs on two hits over five innings, striking out four.

“He threw strikes and kept guys off-balance and equalized their two best players for the most part,” Fung said. “He did his part and our defense backed him up well.”

Even with the loss, Galileo sill holds second place in the A Division and will have a first round playoff bye.

“We’ve got to keep ourselves focused, especially when there is adversity,” Papa said. “We had a chance to stay in the game and we didn’t. It was a bad day all around, but we’ll be all right.”

Scoring Summary

First Inning
W – Passed ball, Alex Kozakiewicz scores
W – Single to center by Avery Velasco, Paul Duchene and Gabe Morse score

Second Inning
W – Solo home run to center by Dane Vande Guchte
W – Single to center by Morse, Kozakiewicz and Walter James score
W – Infield single by Alex Kawano, Morse scores
W – Single to right by Jumaane Bowdry, Velasco scores

Third Inning
W – Single to right by Duchene, Kozakiewicz and James score
W – Groundout to shortstop by Velasco, Duchene scores
W – Triple to center by Kawano, Morse scores
W – Bunt to first base by Bowdry, error on throw, Kawano scores
W – Single to center by Vande Guchte, Bowdry scores

Fourth Inning
W – Home run to left by Duchene, James scores
W – Single to right by Bowdry, Morse scores
W – Single to right by Javon Phillips, Velasco and Kawano score
W – Single to left by Kozakiewicz, Bowdry and Phillips score
W – Single to left by Duchene, Vande Guchte scores
W – Fielder’s choice by Morse, Kozakiewicz scores
G – Groundout to third by Erik Wilson, Dustin Andrick scores
G – Sacrifice fly to center by Donovan Phillips, Dylan Nelson scores

Fifth Inning
W – Adam Badi hit by pitch, Bowdry scores
W – Single to left by James, Chris Hau and Vande Guchte score
W – Sacrifice fly to left by Morse, Badi scores

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