Berry’s 11, Athletics 4
‘Eichelberger throws and clouts Berry’s to title’
Berry’s Athletic Supply 11, L.A. Athletics 4
By Jason Johnson, Special to MSBL National
Mesa Hohokam Stadium, November 2, 2013 – With heavy hearts the tragedy stricken L.A. Athletics battled the defending champion for the 60 National division championship but Berry’s Athletic Supplyproved to be too much to overcome.
Former pro Juan Eichelberger pitched a solid complete game and was 3-for-4 with two RBI as Berry’s won 11-4 at Mesa Hohokam Stadium.
After their first game of the tournament Athletics player Ron Held was informed that his 38-year old son, Sean Held, was killed in a construction accident in Wisconsin. His teammates rallied around him during the difficult time and continued to play well all week as they battled to a 6-0 record.
“We dedicated the rest of the week to just playing together as a team,” said Athletics manager Bob Sherwin. “Ron’s son’s death brought us closer together and made us want to play a little bit harder.”
Unfortunately, tragedy struck again when Athletics third baseman Paul McPherson left during the third inning to drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles when he received news that his mother had suffered a severe stroke. However, the Athletics continued to scratch and claw in the game as they scored four late runs and refused to give up.
Berry’s Athletic Supply came out of the gate scoring seven runs in the first inning putting the Athletics on their heels.
The first inning barrage was led by two-run double by Tom Benedickt followed by a two-run triple by Tom Leeman for Berry’s. With a seven-run cushion Eichelberger was able to take command by not allowing a run in the first five innings.
“That’s a good ball club,” said Berry’s manager John Enright. “We were able to jump on them early and Juan wouldn’t let them come back.”
Berry’s brought 29 players with them to this tournament and every one of them got to play. “We don’t have a tournament MVP because we have 29 guys and they’re all MVPs,” said Enright. “Today it was Juan Eichelberger and our catcher Scott Erreca who were our MVPs for the day. But we want to concentrate on the team idea of it as opposed to one or two individuals.”
Wayne Williams helped ignite Berry’s Athletic Supply all game as he reached base safely three times and scored two runs. Vernon Wells drove in two runs and had two hits for Berry’s as well.
Athletics pitcher Danny Pawelek replaced starter Jeff Wells in the first inning and was able to keep the Berry’s bats quiet until the seventh giving the Athletics an opportunity to battle back in the game.
However, Berry’s would strike again when a leadoff bunt single by Gregg Skowron sparked a two-run inning that was capped by an RBI double from Eichelberger.
For Berry’s it was their 16th championship and Enright says that what makes this team so special is they are a diverse group and nearly all of them lives in the San Diego area.
“Our players come from all walks of life,” said Enright. “We have a doctor, general, attorney, blue collar guys and school teachers. It’s just a melting pot of guys that enjoy the camaraderie. We’re more like a family than we are a baseball team.”