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’Jackets drop third straight; title hopes gone

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Thursday May 17, 2001



The Berkeley High baseball team went into Wednesday’s showdown at Encinal still clinging to league title hopes. But after a 6-3 loss, the team’s third in a row, the ’Jackets are now just hoping to hang onto a North Coast Section playoff spot. 

The loss dropped Berkeley (16-7 overall, 7-4 ACCAL) out of the ACCAL championship picture, while Encinal (9-3 ACCAL) clinched at least a share of the title. Cory Dunlap went the distance for the Jets, giving up 10 hits but walking none for his seventh win of the year. Three of Berkeley’s hits didn’t leave the infield, and Dunlap managed to shut down the top of the ’Jacket order. The top three Berkeley hitters, Lee Franklin, DeAndre Miller and Clinton Calhoun, were just 2-for-12 at the plate. 

That lack of production really hurt when Matt Toma started banging the ball around the park. Toma made solid contact off of Dunlap in all four of his at-bats, including a towering home run in the second inning and an RBI double in the third. Toma got three hits in the game, all to the opposite field. 

“He was throwing me outside pitches, so today was the day to go to right for me,” Toma said. “We’re getting hits, but we’re just not stringing them together right now.” 

Berkeley head coach Tim Moellering complimented his slugger after the game. 

“Matt’s been a great hitter all year,” he said. “It was just our failure to get on base ahead of him that was the problem today.” 

Toma’s homer in the second tied the game at 1-1, but Dunlap said he wasn’t fazed by the shot. 

“I wasn’t really worried,” Dunlap said. “I know this is a hitters’ ballpark, so I don’t let the homers stress me out. I know those would just be doubles in other places.” 

But other than Toma’s power, the ’Jackets just couldn’t score. Meanwhile, an uncharacteristically wild Sean Souders struggled on the mound. The Jets scored a run in each of the first two innings, and the sophomore walked five batters before being lifted in the middle of the fourth with two more runs already in and men on first and second. Reliever Cole Stipovich wasn’t able to stop the bleeding before two more hits turned into two more Encinal runs. 

The ’Jackets had one last gasp left in them in their final at-bats. With one out in the seventh, Miller and Calhoun both hit singles. Toma hit another shot to right, but it was right at Encinal’s Eugene Smith, who snagged it for the second out. Catcher Paco Flores managed to drive in Miller with a single, and Berkeley had designated hitter Jeremy LeBeau at the plate representing the tying run. LeBeau put a charge into the ball, but it was right at Dunlap, who smothered the ball and threw to first to end the game. 

“We’re obviously not a high-powered offensive machine,” Moellering said. “Even in most of our big wins, we’ve only scored two or three runs.” 

Berkeley finishes the regular season at home against El Cerrito on Friday, then Moellering will have to attend the NCS meeting on Sunday to apply for a spot in the playoffs. 

“We just have to win our game Friday, then hope for an at-large bid,” Moellering said. “We can’t do anything else; it’s up to the committee.”