Page One

Berkeley bats explode vs. O’Dowd

By Jared Green, Daily Planet Staff
Monday March 18, 2002

After scoring just six runs in their last three games, the Berkeley Yellowjackets finally found their offense on Saturday against Bishop O’Dowd, raking 11 hits on the way to an 11-5 win in Oakland. 

Clinton Calhoun led the ’Jackets with three hits and four RBIs, and Cole Stipovich and Sean Souders combined to hold the Dragons to five runs despite some shaky defensive support early in the game. 

Saturday’s win was a result of Berkeley’s depth, with eight starters getting at least one hit. With young players like Kory Hong and Jonathon Smith making contributions at the bottom of the order, the ’Jackets have the luxury of solid hitters at every spot. 

“This is exactly what I expected from this team,” Berkeley head coach Tim Moellering said. “We are so deep, we even have solid bats on the bench.” 

Especially pleasing to Moellering was the output of Calhoun, the No. 3 batter in the order who had been struggling to start the season. With RBI singles in the first and fifth innings already under his belt, Calhoun went deep in the seventh, smacking a ball off the top of the fence in right field, the deepest part of the O’Dowd field. 

“We’ve been doing a lot of situation hitting in practice, and I’m more comfortable going to the opposite field now,” said Calhoun, who also laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt in the fourth inning. 

Leadoff hitter Lee Franklin also provided a charge, starting the game with a ringing double off of O’Dowd starter Tony Amato and scoring on a Calhoun single. Franklin also doubled during the five-run fourth inning and made a circus catch on a flare down the rightfield line from his second base position. 

The Berkeley defense made things tough on Stipovich to start the game. The ’Jackets’ two-run lead in the first was quickly in jeopardy when third baseman DeAndre Miller muffed a grounder by O’Dowd leadoff hitter Dominic Ruma. Berkeley rightfielder Jeremy LeBeau then lost a pop-fly in the sun after heading out without sunglasses, and the bases were loaded with just one out. A wild pitch brought Ruma home, and Nick Meyers hit a double to the gap in right to plate two more runs for a 3-2 lead. 

Hong and Smith hit singles in the second and scored on a Franklin groundout and a Miller single, respectively, but the Dragons again took advantage of Berkeley errors to tie the game in the bottom half. Miller overthrew first base on a Ruma grounder, and Ruma all the way around to score on a Steve Singleton sacrifice bunt that Miller threw into right field. LeBeau backed up the play, but his throw to third was wild as well. Stipovich managed to get out of the inning with no further damage, but his high pitch count through three innings caused Moellering to pull him in favor of Souders, who allowed just one run in his four innings of work. 

The ’Jackets, meanwhile, drove Amato from the game in the fourth, batting around on the strength of five hits and Calhoun’s squeeze. Reliever Sean Hunter wasn’t much more successful, giving up three runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work. 

Saturday also marked the long-awaited return of Berkeley’s Jeremy Riesenfeld to behind the plate. A senior, Riesenfeld was slated to be the starter at catcher last season but suffered a shoulder injury early in the year. Two surgeries later, he finally returned to a pinch-hitting role to start this season, but his throwing shoulder is still only at about 80 percent. A gifted receiver, Riesenfeld will get spot duty behind the plate while he works his arm strength back. 

“It feels good to get back behind the plate, but I’m a little timid with my arm,” Riesenfeld said after catching the final inning. “Hopefully I’ll get some more time back there next week.”