By Jeremy Balan
Behind a go-ahead RBI single from senior Garrett Kwong, Galileo Academy edged Oakland Tech 5-4 to take game one of the Transbay Championship on Wednesday at San Francisco State.
Galileo (16-12) entered the sixth inning with a 2-1 advantage, but the Bulldogs (15-6-1) took back the lead with a steal of home by Gabriel Freund and a booming RBI triple from Kelvin McMiller.
The Lions responded in the bottom half of the inning though, with a two-RBI single by Dustin Andrick.
After Andrick’s single, he advanced to second on a balk and Kwong plated the eventual game-winning run with a ground-ball single to center field.
“I was just trying to advance Dustin to third, but then the pitch came right down the middle,” Kwong said. “I just squared up and made contact.”
Senior pitcher Dylan Nelson had another solid start for the Lions, allowing one earned run while striking out 12 in the complete-game victory.
“I didn’t pitch as well [as I did in the AAA] championship, but I had a pretty good feel of the fastball and kept it down in the zone,” Nelson said. “I had a pretty good feel for all of my pitches and was able to get ahead of most of the hitters. My command was key.”
Nelson also had a double in the crucial sixth inning and scored the tying run on Andrick’s single.
“We’re getting used to coming back,” Nelson said. “Seems like we always come back and score in the sixth or seventh, so I’m not too worried. We played really relaxed.”
The normally top-heavy Galileo offense got solid contributions from the bottom half of the batting order with the clutch hit by Kwong and a double by number nine hitter Donovan Phillips, who then came around to score to give the Lions a 2-1 lead in the third inning.
“[Phillips] got a big hit to get us going and this is his first year playing,” said Galileo Head Coach Don Papa. “It’s been an unusual year. [Kwong] got a key hit and he hasn’t got a hit in a while. They keep surprising me.”
Oakland Tech Head Coach Eric Clayton, in his first Transbay appearance, emphasized that the Bulldogs will respond in game two on Monday at the Oakland Coliseum.
“It was a great game and you can’t always win the great games,” Clayton said. “That’s why they have to hold their heads up and know they have two more [games] coming. We’ll be back, there’s no doubt.”
While Oakland Tech looks to even the series on Monday, Papa made it clear that he only wanted to make one trip to Oakland. Game three, if necessary, will be at Henderson Field in Oakland on Wednesday.
“I’ve got one more left in me,” Papa said. “I don’t want to play two more. One trip to Oakland will be good. I’m just happy they keep hanging in there.”
OT – Gabriel Freund infield single, Kai Henderson scores
G – Young Ene single to center, William Kay scores
G – Donovan Phillips steals home
OT – Freund steals home
OT – Kelvin McMiller triples to center, Azeem Ahmad scores
OT – McMiller scores on wild pitch
G – Dustin Andrick singles to left, Ene and Dylan Nelson score
G – Garrett Kwong singles to center, Andrick scores