Baseball: Lowell capitalizes off Balboa errors in walk-off win

Lowell junior Nick Tam (center) reaches base safely after a Balboa throwing error, while Balboa first baseman Brandon Oropeza (left) and second baseman Eduardo Herrera (right) scramble to get the overthrown ball on Wednesday at Big Rec. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

After opening up a four-run lead in the second inning over Lowell High School, it looked like Balboa was primed to extend its undefeated run to seven games in Academic Athletic Association play.

But the Buccaneers were plagued by errors the rest of the way, allowing five unanswered and unearned runs in a 5-4 Lowell win on Wednesday at Big Rec, capped by a walk-off single from senior first baseman Edward King in the bottom of the seventh.

Lowell junior starting pitcher Nick Tam sets to send a pitch toward the plate against Balboa on Wednesday at Big Rec. (Photo by Devin Chen)

With the bases loaded and no outs, King drove in sophomore Josh Vaughan on a line drive to center field over a drawn-in Balboa outfield.

“In my first few at-bats, my timing wasn’t there,” said King, who was hitless in three at-bats prior to the game-winner. “I just sat back and made some adjustments. I was looking for an early fastball. Those are the easiest pitches to hit.”

Every Lowell runner that scored got on base as the result of a Balboa error, including Vaughan in the seventh inning and three consecutive batters in the fourth.

The Bucs (8-8, 6-1) totaled six errors in the game, and squandered a solid start from junior Alex Arnold, who took the complete-game loss, allowing five unearned runs.

“These kids are young, but we’ll fix the errors,” Balboa head coach Tom Pontino said. “We know Lowell is always going to battle all seven innings, so it’s up to us to execute until the end.”

While errors fueled the three-run rally in the fourth, Lowell (5-7-1, 2-1) used some creativity and savvy to knot the game up.

Down 4-2 with runners on second and third in the fourth inning, Lowell executed a suicide squeeze, but it was anything but ordinary. King, on third, broke for the plate on the pitch, and catcher Jacob Gleason got the bunt down, allowing King to score.

But Elijah Saunders, who was also breaking from second base on the pitch, didn’t stop at third. Instead, Saunders headed home as the Bucs recorded the out at first, and just beat the throw home to tie the game.

“We actually discussed it ahead of time that we were going to [have Saunders] run on the play,” said Lowell head coach John Donohue. “Elijah is fast enough that he was able to come around third base. We didn’t have to say anything.”

The Cardinals also got a game performance from junior starting pitcher Nick Tam, who retired 15 of the final 16 Balboa batters after allowing four runs (one earned) in the first two innings.

“We all struggled a little in the beginning, but we rallied back,” Tam said. “You want to go as far as you can and I made some adjustments. I was pressing a little bit early and throwing a little bit harder than I needed to.”

The left-hander struck out five in the complete-game victory and went 1-for-3 at the plate, with a triple and a run scored.

“He’s a gamer and he was right around 90 pitches heading into the seventh inning,” Donohue said. “He would not have gone in the eighth inning, but it was nice to get him a win.”

Scoring Summary

First Inning
B – Eli Smoot reaches on fielder’s choice, Christian Pulusian scores

Second Inning
B – Alex Arnold scores on wild pitch
B – Michael Li singles, Pulusian and Gavin Chin score

Third Inning
L – Nick Magyari singles, Nick Tam scores

Fourth Inning
L – Elijah Saunders reaches on error, Andy Glickfeld scores
L – Jacob Gleason sacrifice bunt, Edward King and Saunders score

Seventh Inning
L – King singles, Josh Vaughan scores

Be Sociable, Share!

9 Comments

  1. Baseball says:

    When will you guys be at a bcl central game next?

  2. Baseball says:

    I agree, there are a couple Of good players in the BCL, but no one cares about that league…or the AAA for that matter

  3. GCJ 01 says:

    @Baseball…. If no one cared about the AAA, whey do they keep writing stories about it? Nice try. Do not put the AAA in the same UNWANTED category as the BCL!!!!!

  4. beyond MS spell checker says:

    Dude,
    Nick Tam or Nick Lam?

  5. bro says:

    the bcl isn’t that bad. They just don’t have the same amount of kids as SI or SH

  6. annonymous says:

    why don’t people start talking about the games played instead of the leagues. people will clearly defend their league and will have that opinion no matter what other people say. jeremy and bonta and the rest of the guys don’t work their rears off so we all can argue about which league is the best in what. they watch all the leagues constantly, so if you really want to know you can ask them.

  7. Annonymous says:

    Wow dude your such a loser.

Leave a Comment

Comments that advocate violence, racism, or libel, as well as comments featuring profanity will not be permitted. Repeat offenders will have their commenting privileges suspended. All comments must abide by our Commenting Code of Conduct.