Baseball: Balboa breaks through in third inning to beat Lincoln

Lincoln pitcher James Clark (left) fields a ground ball as Balboa's Christian Pulusian runs down the first base line on Monday at Balboa Park. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Dante Quazzo

Early on, it looked like Balboa and Lincoln high schools would be locked in a pitcher’s duel Monday afternoon at Balboa Park, but in the third inning, the Balboa offense finally broke through.

The Buccaneers rallied with five consecutive men reaching base, chasing Lincoln starting pitcher Carlos Loeza from the game and snapping a four-game losing streak in a 7-4 Academic Athletic Association win.

Balboa pitcher Eli Smoot sends a pitch toward the plate against Lincoln on Monday at Balboa Park. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“Our concentration level was much better today,” said Balboa head coach Tom Pontino. “We had a four-game losing streak, and we had some shortcomings with our concentration and confidence then, but we made sure our concentration level was better today.”

The Buccaneers (9-10, 7-2) scored four runs in the third, and added another two in the fourth. The Mustangs (8-6, 7-2) rallied for three runs in the sixth, but the game was put away when Balboa added another run in the bottom half of the inning.

Balboa starting pitcher Eli Smoot held the Mustangs in check for the first five innings, giving up just three hits on the day. He did, however, run into some trouble with his command, issuing seven walks. The walks led to the Lincoln rally in the sixth inning, where he didn’t record an out and was removed after walking the first three batters of the frame.

“I came out and I was a little overexcited, and my catcher [Michael Li] really helped me keep the ball down and stay relaxed,” Smoot said. “He does a great job behind the plate. Without him I would’ve been gone.”

Smoot also contributed at the plate, driving in two runs, including a RBI double in the third. Gavin Chin went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Balboa, and Li added to his defensive effort by reaching base four times to boost the Buccaneers’ offense.

The Bucs’ offense was aided in part by Lincoln pitching that couldn’t seem to find the plate at times, as the Mustangs issued three walks and hit three batters.

“All around, a pretty sloppy game on our part,” said Lincoln head coach Eric Calloway. “Our offense isn’t that strong, so we gotta pick it up with the defense and the pitching. But today, we came out pretty flat-footed.”

Lincoln’s Remfel Ganal reached base three times in the game, as did teammate C.J. Wong, but the rest of the Mustangs’ offense went just 2-for-15 at the plate.

The Mustangs look to rebound in AAA play on Wednesday against Lowell, while Balboa will work to continue their run at a league title against Galileo on Wednesday.

Scoring Summary

First Inning
L – C.J. Wong singles, Remfel Ganal scores

Third Inning
B – Gavin Chin singles, Christian Pulusian scores
B – Jeremy Wong singles, Chin and Michael Li score
B – Eli Smoot doubles, Jeremy Wong scores

Fourth Inning
B – Chiss grounds out, Jordan Figueras scores
B – Li singles, Pulusian scores

Sixth Inning
L – Ganal steals third, scores on throwing error
L – James Clark singles, C,J. Wong scores
L – Clark caught stealing second, Paul Nguyen scores
B – Chin scores on balk

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Lebron says:

    I heard the lowell cardinals bringin their talents to west sunset tmw #swag

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ain’t no one care bout no Lowell cardinals.

  3. Pupu Head says:

    Hmmm…seems all star cj wonj couldnt do it all himself this time. Still look for him to lead the votes in the player of the year category because he is really a true five-tool player. Also look for short yet talented James Clark to emerge as a dark horse in the POY race. Great things come in small packages. Look for Tony Chacon aka “The Condor” to also finish within top 3 in the POY voting. This kid brings a certain type of swagger to the field everytime he steps on it and is a player to be feared. Not to forget young Carlos Loeza, aka CEE-LO (green). What Players!!!

  4. charlie A. says:

    tony chacon?? u have to be kidding. lowell has no swag since wash demolished them…

  5. likethankyouuu says:

    Gavin Chin, Alex Arnold, Michael LI, Chris Pulusian and jordan figueras complete the fab 5. balboaaa til then end of it

  6. Bal Alum says:

    Great to see Balboa baseball back on track for the first time in years.

  7. mr. golden says:

    glad gavin chin is back in the conversation for most talented SS in the aaa. Saw him as a young azn with potential in Junior Dons and saw that talent never maximized. finally we get to see the J- Roll type player everyone thought he would be . POY YEAR CANIDATE NO DOUBT

  8. Bucs says:

    Freshmen Eli Smooth is so talented..

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.