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Berkeley walks to an easy victory

By Jared Green, Daily Planet Staff
Saturday April 13, 2002

When going up against a baseball team from a brand-new high school, it’s hard to know what to expect. But even the most cynical observer couldn’t have expected the Bad News Bears to show up. 

Hercules High has no seniors, and apparently none of the talented juniors in the area felt like starting over at a new school. The Titans were a mess, plain and simple, on Friday against Berkeley High, committing eight errors in just four innings on the way to a 13-2 drubbing by the ACCAL league leaders. 

Thanks to the Titans’ ineptitude, Berkeley scored their 13 runs on just five hits. Hercules starting pitcher James Allen issued six walks without getting out of the second inning, allowing the ’Jackets to stroll around the bases at their leisure. Of course, Allen wasn’t exactly getting a lot of help, as his teammates made four errors in the second inning alone. 

The box score for Berkeley second inning went as follows: walk, walk, error, strikeout, walk, single, error, groundout, walk, error, single and error, triple and groundout. It was all the Berkeley players could do to keep from laughing on the bench as they scored nine runs despite hitting just two balls out of the infield. 

After two tough games on Wednesday and Thursday, Friday’s blowout was a relief for Berkeley. They sent junior varsity pitcher Matt Sylvester to the mound, and he threw the entire five innings, giving up seven hits and two runs. He cruised through the first three innings, giving up a lone single.  

“I felt pretty relaxed out there to start the game, which is wierd because I usually struggle early,” Sylvester said. 

The sophomore lefty got into a jam in the fourth inning, giving up a single and double to start, but the solid Berkeley defense bailed him out. Third baseman Chris Wilson threw out Peter Asuelo at home plate on a chopper, and catcher Jeremy Riesenfeld gunned down Allen at second base when he strayed too far off after a single. 

“It’s nice to have a great defense behind you,” Sylvester said. “It makes a hell of a difference.” 

Sylvester may have been off his rhythm as the game progressed by the long stretches on the bench while his team circled the bases. He gave up two runs in the fifth inning, but by then the ’Jackets were ahead by enough that it didn’t make a big difference. 

“Matt proved he can do the job today,” Berkeley head coach Tim Moellering said. “We were hoping to get a complete game from him. It’s a luxury to have guys come up from JV and pitch some innings for us.”