Terry Bernal/Daily Journal
Pacifica second baseman Mitchel Peterson turns a showy double play as San Bruno's Josh Hitchens slides under the throw in the fifth inning of Pacifica's 16-0 win Sunday at Lara Field.
Simply put, the boys of Pacifica Joe DiMaggio are playing like they are in a class by themselves.
With a commanding 16-0 win over undermanned San Bruno Sunday at Lara Field, Pacifica kept its undefeated record in tact with its 12th straight victory. And the squad showed no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Pacifica entered into its final at-bat leading 7-0, but rallied for nine runs in the seventh with the first 12 batters of the inning reaching base safely. Ryan Mullany and Mitchel Peterson had two hits apiece in the inning, with Peterson capping a banner day in which he was 4 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored.
“We’re still focused on getting to [the state championships] and playing the good teams there,” Pacifica outfielder Curtis Casperson said. “So, I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
With San Bruno missing six of its players, including five pitchers, manager Edgar Hernandez was forced to parse together a pitching staff from an untested pool of young arms. In the seventh, San Bruno was snakebit by two infield errors following a monumental strikeout-wild pitch to start the frame.
Casperson reached on the strikeout-wild pitch and the inning quickly unraveled. Mullany followed with an RBI triple, Peterson doubled, Austin Youngsdale singled, and the Pacifica chorus line continued until the team had turned over its batting order before the first out of the inning was even recorded.
“One through nine, everyone hits the ball,” Casperson said. “It gets the job done.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Pacifica starting pitcher Brett Berghammer brought his usual A-game and fired an absolute gem. The left-hander earned the win, turning in a one-hit shutout while allowing just one San Bruno base runner to reach scoring position.
With his first shutout of the season, Berghammer improves his record to 4-0. He struck out four against two walks and got two double plays throughout, and nearly started a triple play on a line drive back to the mound in the fifth inning; but after turning two, the throw behind the back runner at first base was just late.
It is the third shutout of the season for Pacifica pitchers. The two previous games were starts by Beau Eastman, with the right-hander tabbing a complete-game shutout against Burlingame. Then Eastman and Anthony Gordon combined for a complete-game shutout against Daly City.
Berghammer is a Half Moon Bay resident. But despite Half Moon Bay instituting a Joe DiMaggio team last season, Berghammer is allowed to play for Pacifica straightaway because it is his third year with the team, preceding the existence of Half Moon Bay Joe D.
“Brett came in and was ready to go,” Pacifica manager Bryan Powers said. “We marked the calendar for this game. Anytime San Bruno and Pacifica play, it’s a big game in my mind. And I wanted one of my best pitchers out there to throw. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to put out a great performance.”
Pacifica continued to prove their depth behind the plate. With Mullany turning in an exceptional defensive performance, it is a wonder why he has started a majority of the games at catcher this season despite Pacifica boasting a solid backstop option with the younger Josh Pledger.
“Ryan’s great defensively,” Powers said. “He knows how to call a game. He knows how to work it. I think Pledger picks up on that a lot.”
Pledger, who recently completed his sophomore year at Terra Nova, continues to be a force at the plate. As Pacifica’s starting first baseman Sunday, he was 3 for 5 with three RBIs and a pair of doubles. He is now hitting .525 (23 for 40) while exhibiting some critical versatility in the field.
“I think the sky is the limit for this kid,” Powers said. “He can swing it, great arm, super athletic. He’s the type of kid you can put anywhere in the field and he can pick it up really quickly.”
But the pairing with the veteran Mullany, who played at City College San Francisco in the spring, is going to be key for Pledger going forward, Powers said.
“[Pledger] is a student of the game,” Powers said. “I think with Ryan there, that helps him a lot.”
For San Bruno, the loss drops the team’s record to 6-3 on the season. The squad was missing many of its best players Sunday, including the originally scheduled starting pitcher Rory McDaid and its usual No. 3 hitter Jake Steenvorde.
“[Pacifca is] a good team,” Hernandez said. “You can’t miss your best players and expect to win. But props to them.”