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Berkeley bats remain hot as ’Jackets reach tourney final

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday April 03, 2002

Berkeley High continued its offensive barrage on Tuesday, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to beat El Cerrito 12-2 in five innings at the San Marin Tournament in Novato. 

Every Berkeley starter reached base at least once and all but one scored at least one run against the Gauchos, while southpaw Cole Stipovich settled down after a rocky start for an abbreviated win. The ’Jackets face the winner of the San Marin-Windsor game today at 1:30 for a shot at their second tournament title in as many years. 

The ’Jackets have scored at least 10 runs in five of their last six games, getting contributions from every spot in the order and even some good production off the bench. 

“We’re hitting everywhere, all the way through the lineup,” Berkeley head coach Tim Moellering said. “Everybody’s hitting right now. It doesn’t matter who I put out there.” 

Tuesday’s new additions were rightfielder Raymond Pinkston and designated hitter Chris Wilson, who combined go 3-for-3 with a run and three RBIs at the bottom of the order. Pinkston walked twice and singled home two runs during the ’Jackets’ five-run third inning, while Wilson continued a hot streak he started with two hits against Pinole Valley last week. With Jon Smith and Kory Hong also vying for playing time in the outfield and Wilson backing up Lee Franklin and DeAndre Miller on the infield, Moellering has the pleasant dilemma of getting all of his hitters enough at-bats. 

Other highlights included a 3-for-4 day by cleanup hitter Matt Toma, who ended the game in the bottom of the fifth inning with a bases-loaded double that put Berkeley up by the final score, and a two-hit, two-run day by Miller. Clinton Calhoun was the only ’Jacket not to get a hit, but even he walked twice and scored a run. 

Toma said the Gauchos got a little too loud after scoring two scratch runs off of Stipovich in the first inning, giving the ’Jackets some extra motivation playing against a team they’ll face twice in the ACCAL season. 

“They put up two runs early and started to get loud and rowdy,” Toma said. “That gave us a little extra reason to shut them up.” 

Stipovich quieted the El Cerrito bats, not letting a runner past second base for the next four innings while his teammates pounded four different Gaucho hurlers. Although he wasn’t his sharpest, Stipovich got the outs when he needed them, stranding seven runners. 

“I was kind of tired today, but I managed to throw strikes at good times,” said the senior, who faced El Cerrito twice last season. “I was worried they would see me and know what was coming, but they didn’t hurt me too much.” 

El Cerrito starter James Cannon lasted into the third inning, giving up five runs, and his bullpen wasn’t any better. Both teams rested their aces on Tuesday, not wanting to tip their hands before the two games that count in the league standings. Berkeley’s Sean Souders will pitch today in the championship game. 

“We followed the game plan we wanted,” Moellering said. “We made it to the championship without having to use Sean or even use our bullpen too much.” 

Moellering said he would prefer not to face ACCAL teams outside of league play, but Stipovich is hoping Tuesday’s pounding will provide some extra confidence when the ’Jackets see El Cerrito later in the season. 

“Hopefully this will be a forecast of things to come,” he said with a grin. 

Berkeley will play in the championship game at 1:30 p.m. today.