By Ernest Stone
While it may not have been the authoritative win that Washington High School was looking for as the punctuation mark to a stellar undefeated run through the Academic Athletic Association baseball season, its scrappy 5-2 win over Lowell, despite just four hits, helped clinch the regular season league title on Friday at Big Rec.
“Our pitching and defense were our strengths all year, so it was no surprise to see it come down to those factors again,” said Lowell head coach John Donohue. “At the same time though, I definitely didn’t expect our team to give up the lead the way we did.”
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead after an inning and a half, it looked as if the Cardinals would be rounding the bases all day, given Washington starting pitcher Chris Hau’s early struggles with his command of the strike zone.
But the Cardinals (17-9-1, 12-2) were their own worst enemies, surrendering three runs in the bottom of the second inning by way of two errors and three wild pitches. The Cardinals would not regain the lead again.
But Hau settled in, and throughout the remaining five innings, the sophomore surrendered just three hits and didn’t walk another batter.
“Their bench made a lot of noise and they were a really amped up team, but it didn’t really bother us in the infield,” Hau said. “Our fielding in general is definitely one of our strengths, and I think it showed how solid we are that we overcame their noise and the conditions of the field to play a clean game defensively.”
While Hau’s dominance on the mound needed little run support, the Eagles (17-6-1, 14-0) added two more runs off a Paul Duchene RBI double and an Avery Velasco RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to bring the lead to 5-2, a score that would remain intact until the final out.
Despite the loss, Lowell still receives a bye in the first round of the AAA playoffs, with Washington being the only team that has bested the Cardinals in league this season.
In preparation for the playoffs for the top seeded Eagles, head coach Rob Fung will use a perfectionist approach to help his team fine tune its game even further.
“We have had a great year so far, but the playoffs are a new season and we have yet to play that game where everything is perfect,” said Washington head coach Rob Fung. “Our athleticism and patience helped us pull this one out, but clinching the first seed is just the start of what we want to do.”
L – Andy Glickfield doubles, Jake Simons scores
L – Michael Sera grounds out, Nick Magguari scores
W – Avery Velasco scores on a wild pitch
W – Thomas Tomioka scores on a wild pitch, Jordan Wilson scores on a throwing error
W – Paul Duchene doubles, Javon Phillips scores
W – Avery Velasco singles, Alex Kozakiewicz scores