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Moore’s hustle helps Barons escape with win

By Jared Green, Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday July 10, 2002

After seven innings of hard-fought baseball, a little hustle was the thing that made the difference for the Berkeley/Albany Barons. 

Jason Moore’s hard slide into second to break up a possible inning-ending double play allowed Chris Morocco to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning against the San Leandro Braves, giving the Barons a 4-3 win in the opening game of the Babe Ruth District Tournament. 

The Barons loaded the bases on a leadoff infield single by Morocco and walks to Derek Yow and Moore. Up stepped Chase Moore, who hit a groundball to second base. But the relay throw from Braves shortstop Ray Stokes never even made it to first base as he was barrelled into by Jason Moore.  

Stokes and the Braves coaches protested that Moore’s slide was excessive, but the umpires quickly removed themselves from the field, cutting the argument short. 

“I just went straight at the bag, and he was right there,” Moore said. “I knew that since they were playing back I had to break it up. That was the game right there.” 

The Barons struggled against San Leandro starter Eric Willis, who blew the ball by several hitters and cruised through the first four innings. That was a big departure from the teams’ meeting on July 4, a 16-6 win for Berkeley/Albany. 

“They came in here with their best pitcher, a guy I haven’t seen before,” Barons manager Joe Pinguelo said. “He did a nice job, kept us down for most of the game.” 

Meanwhile, the Braves scratched out single runs in the third and fourth innings off of Barons starter James Assia. The righthander worked out of a jam in the fourth, as a Jason Moore error, a single and a walk loaded the bases. It looked as if Assia would escape unscathed when Stokes hit a line drive right at Tom Carman in leftfield, but Carman couldn’t handle it, allowing Tim Schultz to score from third. Assia retired the next two batters without further damage. 

The Barons finally turned on the offense in the fifth inning, scoring three runs, all with two outs. Five straight hits, including RBI doubles by Yow and Chase Moore, were enough to take a 3-2 lead. The lead could have been bigger, but Moore hesitated rounding third on Benny Goldenberg’s single and was gunned down at the plate despite a remarkably nimble attempted leap over the catcher. 

Pinguelo went to his bullpen with the lead, but Ricky Arias walked the first batter he faced, Josh Eisenhart, then wild-pitched him to second. San Leandro’s Steve Petros singled home the tying run two batters later, setting up the last-at-bat dramatics. 

The Barons now face Fremont, one of the two seeded teams, today at 5:30 p.m. Pinguelo thinks his team has the talent to win the district and head to the state tournament next week, noting that the Barons beat the defending state champions San Leandro Rangers earlier this summer. 

“I’m trying to figure out our lineup right now. We’ve got kids working, kids on vacation, kids who want to party,” he said. “If everyone shows up, I feel like we can win it all.”