Baseball: Balboa stuns Lowell with lopsided rout in AAA semifinals

Balboa baseball players celebrate after their upset win over Lowell in the AAA semifinals on Thursday at Big Rec. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Dante Quazzo

Balboa High School sent shock waves through the Academic Athletic Association baseball playoffs Thursday by blowing out favored Lowell High School 11-2 at Big Rec.

After losing to Lowell three times over the course of the regular season, the Bucs charged out of the gate in their AAA semifinal matchup and never looked back.

Eli Smoot and Jeremy Wong both cleared the bases with triples in the first two innings, catapulting Balboa to a 7-0 lead early in the game. The Bucs added four more in the seventh inning, but at that point, the game was already in-hand. Wong finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBIs to ignite the Buccaneers’ offense.

“I just wanted to get big hits for my team. We practice a lot in [the] batting cage, and I think we did well today,” Wong said.

Lowell starting pitcher Nick Tam was not his usual self, as he gave up seven hits and seven runs in the first two innings. He was battling illness and was pulled after the second.

Meanwhile, Balboa starting pitcher Alex Arnold shut down the Cardinals’ offense, and settled into a groove after having some trouble in the early innings.

The Cardinals squandered bases-loaded situations in the first two innings, and it was smooth sailing for Arnold from there. He cruised to a complete-game seven-hitter, inducing three double plays that stalled the Lowell offense.

“Those [double plays] are rally-killers,” said Balboa head coach Tom Pontino. “[Arnold] was shaky in the beginning, but he finally got himself together. Credit to him, he stuck it out. He went out there and fought.”

The Cardinals’ day was epitomized by a double play that concluded the second inning.

With the bases loaded, Lowell second baseman Jake Simons hit a rocket back toward the pitching mound. Arnold snagged the liner, and rifled a throw to first to end the threat.

One of the few bright spots for the Cardinals was the relief performance of Jacob Gleason. Gleason relieved Nick Tam and threw four perfect innings before running into a jam in the seventh.

“[Gleason’s] one of our co-captains, and I think the world of him and our other co-captains,” said Lowell head coach John Donahue. “We did a good job up until this game, but we wish Balboa all the best. They played us hard.”

It’s a disappointing end to the season for the Cardinals, who have been upset in the AAA playoffs in two consecutive years. Meanwhile, Balboa looks ahead to the championship game against Washington, which topped Lincoln 7-2 in the other semifinal, on Thursday at AT&T Park.

Scoring Summary

First Inning
B – Eli Smoot triples, Gavin Chin, Michael Li, and Jeremy Wong score
B – Alex Arnold grounds out, Smoot scores

Second Inning
B – Wong triples, Eduardo Herrera, Christian Pulusian, and Li score

Sixth Inning
L – Nick Magyari reaches on error, Andy Glickfield scores

Seventh Inning
B – Pulusian singles, Herrera scores
B – Wong doubles, Pulusian and Li score
B – Wong scores on balk
L – Oscar Gates-Kent scores on wild pitch

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Balboa baseball is back on track

  2. Anonymous says:

    yeeeeeeeeeee bal all the way

  3. GCJ01 says:

    Good job Bal! Balboa’s bats are on fire. Bal has scored 37 runs in the playoffs thus far. Washington better not sleep on them!

  4. YourFajaah says:

    we’ll see you in the ‘ship.

  5. The Other Jack says:

    Looks like the only chirping at AT&T Park on Thursday will be the seagulls. ahahhaah

  6. Alumni Ric says:

    Go Bucs, and this wasn’t an upset. It was a beatdown! Bal is peeking at the right time.

  7. Coach Peter says:

    Congratulations Alex, I’m very proud of you….Great job, and good luck in the Championship Game..

  8. Balboa Alum says:

    Great job by the balboa offense to hop on the cards early. Great job by Arnold shutting down the card offense.

  9. Justa Fan says:

    Go Bucs!! Yeah!

  10. Anonymous says:

    What year is Alex Arnold? Senior?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Jr rhp #21 Kids got talent……

  12. likethankyouuu says:

    i predicted a bal-wash championship if Pontino pulled the right strings and Pontino did just that. Bal for the win

  13. Denise says:

    Hats off to Bal and Wash reppresent the City who ever win go get Oakland Tech

  14. AAA SF Division says:

    The Balboa Buccaneer offense sprung to life the other day against the cardinals. Capped off with two base clearing triples, the Balboa squad proceeded to rout the Cardinals. Solid D and Pitching helped catapult the Buccaneers into the coveted championship at beautiful AT&T park. Cant Wait!

  15. Jim Young says:

    Balboa, pulls it off again!!! They have a tradition of excellence and winning game like this

    McA 77′

  16. Anonymous says:

    Balboa just has to get over the hump of washs swag. i suggest the whole team wears phitons

  17. Anonymous says:

    lowell was the only team that almost hung with wash. balboa lost 22-4 in its regular season games against wash. this game will be no contest

    • Anonymous says:

      Lincoln v wash game 1 was 4 3. Maybe you should check the facts bud.

      • SFSDFSDF says:

        Balboa lost to Wash 12-2. They also lost to Lowell in regular season 10-2 i believe. Either way, they came back to beat Lowell in the game that counts.

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