Berry’s 5, L.A. Athletics 2

By Chris Errington

Scottsdale, AZ.. Nov. 5, 2012

While some of the names and faces change from year to year, watching Berrys Athletic Supply Baseball Club compete for a World Series championship nearly never does.

And for good reason.

Jimmy Allen pitched a five hitter and Berrys broke open a tie game with a pair of runs in the fifth inning to capture the 60-and-over Wood Bat National championship with a 5-2 victory over the L.A. Athletics on November 5th at the new Salt River Stadium at Talking Stick — the
Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.

The World Series title was Berrys 14th overall and 13th in the past 15 years at this tournament. And while some opponents may point to Berrys superior talent or the sheer number of players it dresses for each game as the reason for its continued success, manager John Enright knows consistency, dedication and hard work are the real keys.

“Planning is so important when it comes to getting ready for this tournament,” Enright said. “I work all year at this and I’ve already starting working toward 2012. Most of our guys know our system, know each other and it’s a big advantage for us.

“We use the rules to the maximum, so guys know they may hit and not play the field or they may play the field and not hit. It may not work for other teams, but everybody here knows their roles and plays within them and that’s why it works so well for us.”

Berrys may dress as many as 30 players for the tournament, but Enright stressed that 24 of them consistently play together during the season in the San Diego Adult Baseball League, where it is a perennial power.

During the tournament, Berrys lost just two games during round-robin play to secure the top seed for the playoffs. The team allowed just 58 hits for the tournament and used a 3-1 victory over Windy City – a game it trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the eighth before Allen ignited a three-run rally – as a catapult to another title.

Berrys earned a 5-1 playoff victory over the Tera Haute Volkers when MikeTricker scattered five hits over 8.2 innings.

“Pitching has been huge for us for so many tournaments,” Enright said. “Our goal is to have every pertinent player ready to play on Friday and there was no doubt we were going to go with Jimmy in the championship game.”

Allen didn’t disappoint.

Using a mix of off-speed pitches, the former minor leaguer struck out four and only allowed a pair of fourth-inning runs to the hard-hitting Athletlics. Meanwhile, his teammates kept pecking away at a 2-1 deficit.

Larry Walker singled with two outs in the bottom of the fourth and was replaced by pinch runner Jerry Encoe. Encoe moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring the tying run on Alan Beilstein’s single to left.

An inning later, Berrys paved the way for final victory.

Billy Cocchia led off with a single, was sacraficed to second and, after Tom Benedict’s single and Bill Howard’s base on balls loaded the bases, scored the eventual game winner on Juan Eichelberger walk. One out later, Encoe drove home Benedict with a sacrifice fly to center.

Encoe drove in pinch runner Rich Papike with a two-out, eighth-inning single to give Berrys a 5-2 lead and effectively put the game away.

Cocchia, Greg Skowron and Benedict each had two hits for Berrys.

Danny Pawelek, who pitched 21.1 innings over three days and had a pair of singles and both RBI led the Athletics, who advanced to the championship game with an 8-1 victory over the Rhode Island Salty Dogs in the playoffs.