Hoots 5, Bercovich 0
The Star: After playing in its fourth game in as many days, Danville needed a strong pitching performance — and Andy Eslick delivered. The Chico State Wildcat threw a seven-inning complete-game shutout, striking out six while allowing five hits. Eslick was consistant all day as he didn't allow a walk. Eslick only allowed one runner to reach second base and no one to reach third.
The Turning Point: With just a 2-0 lead entering the fifth, the Hoots needed some insurance runs. Danville added three runs in the fifth to secure the victory. Scott Quinlan and Tommy Plushkell each had sacrifice flies to score a runner with Mike Kathan driving an RBI single to center field.
The Quote: "It's great to be back in the (Northern California) championship," Hoots manager Don Johns said. "Andy (Eslick) gave us a great game on the hill and we took care of the ball in the field."
What's next? With the Hoots topping Bercovich and Cen Cal topping West Lane in the afternoon game, Danville will meet Cen Cal in a one game playoff for a spot in the Connie Mack West Regional tomorrow at noon. The winner between the Hoots and Cen Cal will then face West Lane at 3 p.m. for the Northern California Connie Mack Championship.
The Danville Hoots' 5-0 victory over Bercovich in the Connie Mack Northern California playoffs was all about one person — pitcher Andy Eslick.
Eslick was spectacular on the mound, going the distance while only allowing five baserunners, all on singles. The Chico State Wildcat struck out six while allowing no free passes.
"Eslick was unbelievable today," Danville manager Don Johns said. "We'll have to play four to five games in a row, so for Andy to give us a complete game allowed us to rest some guys for tomorrow."
Eslick allowed just one base runner to reach second base and none to third.
Danville capitalized off some first-inning jitters from Bercovich pitcher and California High senior Logan Truex to score one. Truex's Cal High battery mate Steven Moen got the better of him in the first to hit a sacrifice fly to plate Tino Lipson.
The Hoots added another run in the third on a long double by Scott Quinlan to deep center field to plate 2010 East Bay Athletic League MVP Chris Keck.
Danville added three in the fifth to secure the 5-0 victory.
With the win, the Hoots will play Sunday at noon for a spot in the Connie Mack Western Regional in Seattle, Wash. If the Hoots win, they'll play West Lane for the Hoots sixth game in five days. Johns, however, isn't worried about fatigue.
"We've had a pretty full schedule this season," Johns said. "We played seven nine inning games earlier this season, so fatigue shouldn't be an issue at all."
Johns said the key to the Hoots winning tomorrow is their defense.
"Our defense has been our biggest nemesis this season," he said. "Sometimes we go to sleep on defense and that's not typical Hoots baseball. We played great D today, however."
With the Western Regional's so close for the Hoots, Johns ensured the team is not getting too ahead of itself.
"We take it one game at a time, one inning at a time and one pitch at a time," Johns said.
Danville Hoots 5, Bercovich Baseball 0
Danville 1010300 — 5 6 0
Bercovich 0000000 — 0 5 0
Danville (h-ab-r) — Hamm 0-3-0, Lipson 2-4-2, Keck 1-2-2, Quinlan 1-2-0, Moen 0-2-1, Chase 0-2-0, Pluskell 0-3-0, Kathan 1-3-0, Moore 1-3-0
Bercovich — Lee 0-3-0, Hernandez 1-3-0, Howell 0-3-0, Amato 0-3-0, Brown 1-3-0, Zimmerman 1-3-0, Strawn 0-3-0, Cardoza 0-2-0, Murphy 1-1-0, Preston 1-1-0
Danville — Eslick 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K
Bercovich — Truex 4+ IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 2 HP; Brown 2/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 K, 1 BB, 1 HP; Derdak 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 K, 0 BB; Benton 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 K, 1 BB
2B — Quinlan (Danville), Keck (Danville)