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Deja vu all over again: Barons game cut short

By Jared Green, Daily Planet Staff
Thursday July 11, 2002

Yow’s odd sixth-inning ejection prompts Pinguelo to forfeit game; Berkeley/Albany may be headed for state tournament 


In a disturbing re-enactment of Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game fiasco, the Berkeley/Albany-Fremont Babe Ruth District Playoffs baseball game was ended prematurely on Wednesday evening, with Fremont claiming a 10-4 win just two outs into the sixth inning. 

Like Bud Selig’s fiasco in Milwaukee, Wednesday’s cancellation came down to pitching. Berkeley/Albany manager Joe Pinguelo was down to his last healthy pitcher in Derek Yow by the fifth, and when Yow was tossed from the game by the home plate umpire, Pinguelo decided his team couldn’t go on. 

“It’s an unfortunate thing, but I just ran out of pitching,” Pinguelo said. “Why waste pitchers?” 

Yow’s ejection was, at best, a questionable call. After a called third strike, he dropped his head and dragged his bat behind him toward the dugout. Without warning, the umpire told Yow he was out of the game, drawing disbelief and more than a few comments from the Barons’ bench. 

“I didn’t say a word to him,” Yow said of his first ejection ever. “I just dropped my bat and dragged it. It’s the same thing I always do when I strike out.” 

According to Pinguelo, the umpire objected to Yow’s dragging of the bat, considering it an insult. 

“(The umpire) said, ‘He can’t stick his bat in my dirt,’” Pinguelo said in disbelief. “There’s no way the ejection was warranted.” 

Yow’s ejection was the second of the game. In the fourth inning, Fremont’s Troy Howard earned an automatic thumbing when he tried to run over Barons catcher Jeremy LeBeau. Both high school and Babe Ruth rules mandate a runner must slide into home if contact is imminent. 

Pinguelo said after the game that he had been assured by the league office that, thanks to the section’s best record, the Barons would advance to the state tournament regardless of Wednesday’s result. With that in mind, Pinguelo’s decision to forfeit the game is a bit more understandable. But Fremont manager Anthony Rojo’s take was a little different. 

“We just earned ourselves a bid to the state tournament, but I think Joe’s in for a surprise,” Rojo said. “I’m positive he’ll have to win another game to make the state tournament.” 

The Black Sox earned their bid by knocking around starting pitcher Jeremiah Pinguelo for nine runs in the first three innings. Fremont ran themselves out of the first two innings with three runners cut down on the basepaths, and Chase Moore’s three-run homer to leftfield gave the Barons a 4-1 lead after two and a half innings. But the Sox tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the third, then teed off for five more in the fourth, with the big blow a two-run triple by Nick Rutchena, the first batter faced by reliever Randy Renn after Pinguelo was lifted. 

The Babe Ruth state tournament starts on Saturday at San Leandro Ballpark.