CONCORD, Calif. – Berean Christian’s Tom Reed stymied the Cloverdale lineup on Saturday afternoon at Concord High, tossing a no-hitter and striking out a dozen in a 5-0 victory. The Berean Christian bats were not much better off through the first four innings, but Reed helped himself with a two-out double to break the scoreless tie.
In the bottom of the sixth, a defensive meltdown by the visiting Eagles allowed the home Eagles to rack up an additional four runs on just one hit, though Reed looked like he’d never need more than just the one run to get the job done.
“I’m really proud of myself,” Reed said. “My coaches were telling me I gotta throw just strikes today... throw it right down the middle, good things will happen.”
Reed struck out five of the first six hitters he faced. He remained perfect up until the sixth when he walked lead-off batter Jaeden Toginato. The only other blemish was another walk one inning later.
“Tom was dealing today,” Berean Christian coach Jeremy Brys said. “He went out there and commanded the zone. Sometimes emotions get the best of him, and he was able to harness that on the mound into his pitching.”
Berean Christian (7-4) had a great opportunity to score in the second inning after loading the bases with one out. But Cloverdale (2-3) starter Dom Vellutini set down Ivver Vertulfo and Sam Gonzalez to escape trouble. Berean had two on and one out the following inning, when Griffin DeRusso smacked a double and Reed was hit by a pitch, but a foul out and a ground out ended the threat.
In the fifth, DeRusso singled and then went to second when the ball took a high bounce past left fielder Kagen Jones. Reed’s double brought him home, and a great catch by Jones on the next at-bat limited the damage to a single run.
In the bottom of the sixth, Berean Christian got things going when a routine grounder hit by Josh Ting turned into an error on the throw to first. After Ting scampered to second and then stole third, Josh Werner walked and stole second. Dominic Roca then laid down a bunt, and he made it to first safely scoring Ting and sending Werner to third.
“We have tried so many times to get the squeeze down this year, and I think that might be the first time we actually executed it,” Brys commented.
Vertulfo flew out to center, but miscommunications on defense resulted in an errant throw to first base, with Werner scoring on the play. Finally, with two out, a fly ball by DeRusso fell between two outfielders, allowing two more runners to barrel home.
Vellutini went the distance for Cloverdale, scattering five hits, four walks, and four strikeouts in six innings.
Reed is now 3-1 with an 0.50 ERA. St. Mary’s College-commit Sebastian Gonzalez has an even more miniscule ERA (0.36) but one win to show for it. Damon Neu hasn’t allowed an earned run in nine innings of relief.
“I feel like we need to be more confident at the plate,” Reed said when asked about the rest of the season. “Keep it simple. Baseball’s not really a complicated game.”
“We’re still making tweaks to our lineup,” Brys remarked. “I think once we find that right combination and our pitchers continue to do what they do, I think we’ll be a tough out.”