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Nealon Lends Helping Arm for Poly, 9-8

Three weeks ago, Greg Nealon was just another pretty good pitcher throwing in front of sparse crowds at isolated junior varsity baseball fields around the West Valley League.

He showed some signs of brillance on occasion, however, striking out 16 in one game and tossing a one-hitter in another. Those efforts caught the attention of varsity Coach Jerry Cord, who brought Nealon up to the big team near the end of the regular season.

Friday, the sophomore left-hander loaned a helping arm a little sooner than expected, helping Poly to a 9-8 win over El Camino Real in the first round of the City 4-A playoffs at Poly.

The Parrots (16-7) will meet Banning, a 2-1 winner over Kennedy on Friday, in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

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Nealon picked up his second win for the varsity, allowing only three hits in the final four innings. He struck out four and walked only two.

Nealon entered the game in relief of Ray Palafox in the top of the fourth with Poly trailing, 6-5. El Camino’s only runs from then on came in the sixth inning on a dropped fly ball.

“All he needs is some time,” Cord said. “He had some great games on JV. I knew he could pitch. He did a good job for us.”

Nealon, who is a cousin of Toronto Blue Jay pitcher Dennis Lamp didn’t let his success go his mouth after the game.

“It felt pretty good,” was about all he could say.

The teams combined for 19 hits and the 17 runs were also the product of four Poly errors and three El Camino errors.


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