Page One

’Jackets lose, fall into second place

Thursday May 10, 2001

Alameda gets 16 hits, rolls over Berkeley 

By Jared Green 

Daily Planet Staff 


If it looks like a slump, smells like a slump and walks like a slump, it’s probably a slump. And that’s just what the Berkeley High baseball team is in right now, at just the wrong time in the season. 

The ’Jackets (16-6 overall, 7-3 ACCAL) lost their second straight game Wednesday, falling 11-5 to the Alameda Hornets at San Pablo Park in Berkeley. This is the first time they have lost two straight all season, and the loss put them firmly in second place behind Pinole Valley, the team they lost to on Friday. 

The Hornets (5-4 ACCAL) rapped out 16 hits on Wednesday, the most the ’Jackets have given up this season. Toss in four Berkeley errors and some poor baserunning, and it was clear Alameda was in the driver’s seat. 

Berkeley starter Cole Stipovich hadn’t pitched for nearly two weeks before taking the mound Wednesday, but looked strong to start the game, giving up just one unearned run in the first two innings. But when third baseman Robert Williams made his second error of the game to start the third, the roof caved in.  

Stipovich walked the next batter, then gave up an infield single to leadoff hitter Dave Burson, loading the bases for the heart of the Alameda lineup. Jeff Soskin opened the floodgates, lining a bases-clearing double into left-center. Cody Nelson bunted his way on, and Conor Patterson brought in Soskin with a single. Nelson stole third base, then scored on Matt McBride’s double-play grounder. Stipovich gave up two more singles before getting out of the inning after five runs and six hits, and Berkeley was down 6-3. 

“We’ve been spoiled all year by our pitchers, but they can’t always have good outings,” Moellering said. “I’d rather we had three games a week so we could get them all work, but sometimes it’s hard to keep them all fresh.” 

But Stipovich wasn’t helped any by his defense, which was weakened by the absence of regular shortstop Jason Moore, who was suspended for the game after being ejected from Friday’s loss. 

“Cole’s a ground ball pitcher, and we didn’t take care of some grounders today,” Moellering said. “Jason’s a key to our defense, and we had to move some people around today.” 

The ’Jackets had been hitting Alameda starter McBride hard in the first two innings, and designated hitter Matt Toma started the third with a double. The Alameda coaches, obviously thrilled to have taken such a sudden lead, quickly went to their ace to protect the lead, calling in centerfielder Patterson to put out the fire. Although Noah Roper hit an RBI single, Patterson got out of the inning without any further damage. 

The ’Jackets managed nine hits on the day, including three doubles. But second baseman DeAndre Miller was doubled off of second base in the first on a routine fly ball, and Toma was caught between second and third on a grounder to the Alameda third baseman in the third. Both plays killed Berkeley rallies, and the ’Jackets just couldn’t string together hits the way Alameda did. Patterson went the rest of the way, striking out five to earn the win. 

Moellering yanked Stipovich and looked to Sean Souders in the fourth. But the Hornets scored run on a single, wild pitch and another single in the fourth. Souders managed to hold them off for the next two innings, and Berkeley managed to pull a run back in the sixth for a 7-4 deficit heading into the seventh. 

Once again, however, the wheels came off as Alameda strung together a series of base hits. The first four batters in the seventh all hit singles, scoring two runs. Souders struck out the next two Hornets, but Mark Gillman came up with a two-out single to bring in another run. Souders then hit Burson on the foot, and Soskin hit a single that scored Alex Rosko before Dave Ballarini was gunned down at the plate by the relay throw. Patterson, who had struggled through the past two innings, set down the ’Jackets in order in the bottom of the inning to seal the victory. 

Berkeley now has one more loss than Pinole Valley. If the Spartans win their remaining games and finish in first place to claim the league’s lone NCS spot, the ’Jackets will be at the mercy of the at-large selection committee.