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St. Mary’s wins battle for bragging rights

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Thursday March 22, 2001

When the two Berkeley-based high school baseball teams play against each other, the players don’t just want to do well to help their team. They want to win bragging rights over their friends on the other team. The St. Mary’s Panthers did just that on Wednesday, downing Berkeley High, 7-5. 

“You know that if you play badly, you’re going to hear about it later,” said Berkeley’s Jeremiah Fielder. “So you definitely want to bring your best game.” 

The Panthers (2-9) did just that by getting to Berkeley starter Moses Kopner, who will pitch for Stanford next season. Kopner had trouble with his control early, committing two hit batsmen and a walk to open the bottom of the first inning. St. Mary’s second baseman Chris Alfert followed with a bases-loaded infield single, and pitcher Anthony Miyawaki followed with a single to left that brought home another run. Designated hitter Joe Storno than blooped a hit into left-center to score another before Kopner settled down by striking out the next three batters. He committed a balk before getting out of the inning, however, and the Panthers had a 4-1 lead after one. 

“Moses was just getting warmed up, and he was ahead in the count,” Berkeley head coach Tim Moellering said. “But the ball found the batters’ bodies, and he got himself in a hole.” 

Berkeley’s one run in the top of the first came when leadoff man Lee Franklin pulled a double down the third-base line, went to third on an error, then stole home with two outs. That was all the offense the ’Jackets (7-4) would get in the first four innings, as Miyawaki got them to pound the ball into the ground for easy outs. He got some defensive help from third baseman Tom Wright, who made two diving stops, including stabbing a line drive to start a double play to kill a Berkeley threat in the third inning. 

The ’Jackets finally broke through for another run in the fifth inning, as shortstop Jason Moore singled to drive in Clinton Calhoun, who reached on a fielder’s choice. But Berkeley’s threat ended strangely, as DeAndre Miller was caught trying to steal home on what looked like a missed sign by catcher Paco Flores. 

The Panthers answered right back by scoring three runs in their half of the fifth. Fielder reached on an error, and Kopner loaded the bases with two more walks. Miyawaki helped his own cause again, driving in two runs with a single, and Storno hit a sacrifice fly before Kopner struck out the last two batters of the inning. 

Bad baserunning again killed a promising Berkeley rally in the sixth, as Noah Roper hit a single and was promptly picked off of first base. Designated hitter Matt Toma followed with his second double of the game, then Miyawaki walked Bennie Goldberg. Both runners scored on a single by Dominic Hunter that got by St. Mary’s right fielder Chase Moore. 

“We ran ourselves out of a couple of innings,” Berkeley head coach Tim Moellering said. “We were in the game the whole way, but things just didn’t break for us.” 

St. Mary’s got into the baserunning antics in the bottom of the sixth. With Brandon Hartoy at third and Fielder at second, first baseman Joe Starkey hit a grounder to shortstop. Hartoy got caught in a rundown and was tagged out. Starkey strayed past first base and got in another rundown, then Fielder was caught sneaking away from third. He was tagged out for a very complicated double play that ended the inning. 

St. Mary’s head coach Andy Shimabukuro decided to leave Miyawaki in the game to start the seventh inning, but it was soon obvious that the starter was tiring fast. Miyawaki gave up a single and a double to start the inning, and Shimabukuro quickly called on Storno to douse the rally.  

Storno walked the first batter he faced before getting the next three batters to earn the save. Toma hit a shot down the first-base line with two outs, but Starkey was there to smother the ball and end the game.