By Jeremy Balan
To the likely chagrin of the rest of the Academic Athletic Association, Galileo’s Kyle Nelson looked like his big brother on Thursday.
Nelson, a skinny sophomore left-hander, doesn’t physically look like former two-time AAA Player of the Year Dylan Nelson in form or stature yet, but he showed he can take over a game on the mound and at the plate, just like his big bro, in a 7-4 win over Lincoln at Moscone Recreation Center.
On the mound, Nelson threw a complete game, struck out 12 and allowed just two hits, and at the plate, he broke a 4-4 tie with a go-ahead, bases-clearing triple in the sixth inning.
After starting 0-for-3 at the plate, Nelson sent a 1-1 changeup from Lincoln starter Alejandro Hernandez, who also pitched a complete game in the loss, deep into right-center field to score the go-ahead runs.
“I was just way in front of [his changeup] in every at bat, but I just knew it was coming,” Nelson said. “I was sitting in the batter’s box thinking, ‘Please, please throw it again.’ What he didn’t know, thank God, is that I couldn’t see his fastball at all.”
Nelson dominated Lincoln hitters throughout with a nearly unhittable sweeping curveball, but struggled to find the plate in the fifth inning, where all four of his charged earned runs were allowed.
The sophomore took a no-hitter into the fifth with the Lions (8-5 in AAA play) leading 3-0, but walked the bases loaded with one out, then hit Lincoln third baseman Dylan Melowitz with a pitch to bring in the Mustangs’ first run.
Freshman catcher Craig Colen then cleared the bases with a crushed double to left-center field to break up the no-hitter and give the Mustangs (6-6 in AAA play) a 4-3 lead.
“Craig catches, he pitches, he hits, he plays the infield and as a freshman, he is the leader on this team,” said first-year Lincoln head coach Jim Neilly. “He’s somebody that I would acknowledge as a key part of this season and a key part of the future, and that’s not easy for a freshman to do.”
The win, wrapping up a two-game sweep of Lincoln,
clinches all but mathematically seals a playoff spot for Galileo and eliminates likely eliminates the Mustangs from the postseason for just the second time since 2003.
Galileo will have a bye week in the final stretch of AAA games before the playoffs begin, but Nelson and the Lions have confidence they can upset league favorites Lowell and Washington in a single elimination postseason situation.
“Two different teams can come out and you saw them both today,” Nelson said. “We can play like we did in the fifth inning, where everything breaks down, or we can be the team that fights and comes out to get the win. If that teams comes out and I pitch well enough, we can get anyone.”
Galileo head coach Don Papa was not available for comment after the game.
G – Eduardo Martinez singles, Kyle Nelson scores
G – Jason Tong walks, Rafael Vergara scores
G – Dexter Castillo reaches on a fielder’s choice, Martinez scores
L – Dylan Melowitz hit by a pitch, Raisy Sabater scores
L – Craig Colen doubles, James Clark, Remfel Ganal and Melowitz score
G – Castillo reaches on an error, Ken Rivera scores
G – Nelson triples, Henry Chen, Chris Chan and Josh Lu score