Nathan Mollat/Daily JOurnal
Capuchino’s Joe Galea, left, high-fives Anthony Orcholski after he scored the go-ahead run on a Dylan Arsenault single in the top of the seventh inning. The Mustangs held on to beat Aragon 7-6 and remain in first place in the PAL Ocean Division, while the Dons fell to second.
Four baseball teams in the Peninsula Athletic League’s Ocean Division entered the final week of the regular season in a tie for first place, including Capuchino and Aragon.
The Dons hosted the Mustangs Tuesday and were on the verge of staying in at least a tie for first, but Capuchino turned the tables.
Down 6-3 after five innings, the Mustang scored twice in the sixth and two more in the seventh to snatch a 7-6 victory and drop the Dons into second place.
“It started from the first pitch and lasted to the last out. It was a nail-biter,” said Capuchino manager Matt Wilson. “It’s baseball. You never know what’s going to happen.”
In a game full of heroes, sophomore right fielder Dylan Arsenault provided the final heroic effort. Appearing in just his second game since being called up from the frosh-soph team, Arsenault took a 3-2 fastball from Aragon reliever Chris Davis and stroked a single up the middle, driving in Anthony Orcholski from second with the winning run.
“It’s probably my first (game-winning hit) in high school. I’m only a sophomore,” Arsenault said. “[This win is] big. One more win and we win it all. It’s good momentum for Thursday.”
In two games, Arsenault is batting .500, having gone 4 for 8 from the plate.
Arsenault’s game-winning hit was only possible because of a towering home run hit by sophomore catcher Ramon Enriquez, who crushed a 1-0 pitch over the fence in right-center field to tie the score at 6.
“He’s hit a couple (homers) this year,” Wilson said. “He’s a baseball player. He understands the situation he was in.”
The loss was galling for the Dons who, despite scoring six runs against Capuchino ace Joe Galea, failed to take advantage of some other scoring opportunities.
“That run’s there somewhere,” said Aragon manager Lenny Souza. “You have to tip you hat to Cap.”
Aragon (8-5 PAL Ocean, 13-10-1 overall) had a chance to do more damage, but ran out of a couple of scoring opportunities in the fourth inning. Brenden Donnelly, who was on third with one out, was tagged out trying to score when Chad Franquez hit a comebacker to Galea.
Later in the inning, Davis was tagged out trying to score from second on a Steven Hughes single after Franquez had already scored.
“(Donnelly’s out is) on me. I didn’t make sure the ball cleared the pitcher,” Souza said. “And I thought the ball scooted further away from the center fielder when I sent Davis.”
The comeback by Capuchino (9-4, 19-7) made a winner of Galea, who grinded through six innings, allowing six runs (four earned). He scattered eight hits and then gave way to Rory McDaid, who retired in order the heart of the Aragon lineup.
It became clear early on that the game would be a wild affair. Capuchino took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a Galea bloop single to shallow left field that drove in McDaid, who singled with two outs.
It was the first of Galea’s three hits and two RBIs on the day.
Aragon, however, came back with two runs in the bottom of the first, also with two outs. Davis was hit by a pitch and Hughes walked. Both runners moved up on a balk and both came home on Brennan Carey’s single to center.
The Mustangs responded with two more runs in the second. Orcholski started the rally with a lead-off single and moved to second on a groundout. Arsenault singled to put runners on the corners and he moved to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Chris Kosta singled up the middle to plate both runners and give the Mustangs a 3-2 lead.
Back came the Dons, who scored two more in the bottom of the frame for a 4-3 advantage. Justin Johnson walked to lead off the inning before Kyle Hamilton put down a perfect bunt and beat it out when the Capuchino third baseman was unable to make a bare-handed grab. The rally was slowed when the Mustangs turned a double play, but a double from Matt Foppiano drove in Johnson and he scored when Franquez’s shot to the first baseman caught him between hops and scooted into the outfield.
Aragon made it 5-3 on Hughes’ solo home run in the bottom of the third and doubled up the Mustangs on a Hughes RBI single in the fourth.
Galea, however, shut down the Dons over the final three innings, giving his teammates a chance to rally and give him the win.
Aragon starter Kevin Hahn ended up with a no-decision after working five innings, giving up 11 hits and five runs — only three of which were earned.
In addition to Galea’s three hits, McDaid, Enriquez and Arsenault all had a pair of hits. Hughes and Donnelly each had two hits for the Dons.
“No one said (winning a division title) was going to be easy,” Wilson said.