By Jeremy Balan
Last season, Washington High School got into the Academic Athletic Association playoffs by the skin of its teeth, but after a dominating 7-0 win over defending champion Galileo on Thursday at Big Rec, the Eagles have established themselves as the team to beat in the AAA in 2011.
The Eagles (11-6-1, 8-0) have outscored AAA opponents 129-8 in league play, and got a standout performance from sophomore starting pitcher Chris Hau on Thursday.
Hau allowed just a single hit to Galileo’s Ishmael Muhammad in the third inning and struck out six to collect the complete-game win.
“I just focused on the game, one pitch at a time,” Hau said. “It was a lot of the little things that really helped.”
The right-hander also sparked the Eagles’ offense early, directly contributing to their first three runs, with a run scored in the second inning on a RBI single from Jordan Wilson and a two-RBI single in the third.
“He did it with the bat and on the mound today,” said Washington head coach Rob Fung. “He’s only a sophomore, but he’s pitching like a junior or senior guy already. He’s giving us quality starts and has been competing. We’re getting a lot out of him.”
While Washington has been the class of the AAA early, Galileo (4-6, 4-4) has struggled in the absence of last season’s AAA Player of the Year Dylan Nelson, and Thursday was no exception.
The Lions had an error in every inning and struggled mightily at the plate against Hau.
“You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken [expletive],” said a visibly frustrated Galileo head coach Don Papa. “We can’t even throw the ball and catch the ball.”
All but one of Galileo starter Dustin Andrick’s seven allowed runs were earned, but the constant errors undoubtedly put a strain on the senior left-hander, as the Lions’ offense sputtered in the top half of innings. Andrick struck out four in the complete-game loss.
“We had two kids pitch their hearts out [in this series], but we haven’t had one senior get a hit in a [division] game yet,” Papa said. “They just can’t make contact.”
After being swept in its first two series against Lincoln and Washington, it appears Galileo will be the one team out of the postseason from the A Division, while Washington looks ahead to a two-game series with Lincoln next week, before a stretch of four games in the final week of the season to make up rainouts.
“We’re winning the games we’re supposed to win and doing the things we’re supposed to do, but it’s not over yet,” Fung said. “It’s far from over.”
W – Jordan Wilson singles, Chris Hau scores
W – Hau singles, Javon Phillips and Alex Kozakiewicz score
W – Kozakiewicz reaches on a fielder’s choice, Dane Vande Guchte scores
W – Paul Duchene triples, Kozakiewicz scores
W – Shaquan Robinson singles, Duchene scores
W – Vande Guchte scores on a throwing error