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Yow! Lions clobber North Bay to stay alive

By Jared Green, Daily Planet Staff
Monday July 15, 2002

Former Salesian High star hits two homers and a triple, throws complete game in Babe Ruth state tournament 


When the Berkeley/Albany Lions showed up for Tuesday’s game against North Bay, Derek Yow was set to play third base and try to break out of an 0-for-6 slump. By the third inning, Yow was well on his way to carrying his team to victory. 

When scheduled starting pitcher Joe Storno came down with a sore throwing shoulder, Yow was forced into service. The Salesian High graduate responded with four shutout innings to begin a complete game, 14-3 win that moved the Lions to the next round of the Babe Ruth state tournament at San Leandro Ballpark. 

But even more impressive was Yow’s performance at the plate. The slender Yow gave his team a kickstart with a two-run homer as the second batter of the game, followed the next inning with a triple, then blasted another two-run bomb in the third inning to put the Lions ahead 9-0, pretty much locking up the game. 

The second homer of the day, which cleared a row of trees and an overpass behind the leftfield fence, gave Yow seven for the summer, second-best on the team. Yow said it was his first multiple-homer game of his post-Little League career. He just missed capping things off with a seventh-inning grand slam, with North Bay leftfielder Matt Byers making a spectacular running catch at the fence and doubling off Randy Renn at second base. 

“I just wanted to come out of my slump from the last two games,” Yow said. “I just got some good swings in today.” 

Yow’s offensive outburst was just part of the Lions’ attack that mowed through seven North Bay pitchers. Starter Mike Trejo didn’t even make it out of the first inning, leaving after Tom Carman’s two-run single gave Berkeley/Albany a 4-0 lead. Rob Muniz managed to get six outs, but also surrendered five runs, and from then on it was a parade of pitchers coming from all over the diamond. 

The Lions were just one out away from ending the game in five innings, as they staked Yow to an 11-0 lead after their half of the fifth. But Kyle Haycock brought in a run with a sacrifice fly, then Jeff Berry ensured at least one more inning of play with a two-out RBI single. The Lions failed to score in the sixth inning, which meant a full seven for the players and fans on a cold night. 

Yow worked in and out of trouble all night on the hill, stranding 12 North Bay baserunners. But he didn’t allow an extra-base hit and even shook off an odd adventure in the first inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Haycock swung and missed at a pitch in the dirt. The home-plate umpire called strike three, and the Berkeley players came off the field. But after a long delay, the scorekeeper determined that Haycock only got two strikes, so the officials ordered the Lions back onto the field. Yow induced Haycock to ground out on the next pitch, so no harm came from the controversy other than a heated argument between Berkeley/Albany manager Joe Pinguelo and the home plate umpire. 

Pinguelo was duly impressed by Yow’s performance. 

“Derek’s my utility guy, just a great all-around ballplayer,” Pinguelo said. “He did a great job hitting, obviously, and an excellent job pitching. He’s been wanting to pitch all summer, and he closed them down for most of the game.” 

The Lions are in the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament thanks to an 11-1 loss to the defending champion San Leandro Rangers on Saturday, so it’s a long road to the championship game. They play Capitol Valley on Tuesday at 8 p.m., with the loser going home and winner playing again on Wednesday.