The Foothill Falcons may have had the right cards to win April 13’s showdown with the Berkeley High softball team in Pleasanton, but now the Yellowjackets have an ace up their sleeve.
Star pitcher Lilli Bermeo, held out of last month’s meeting due to injury, has been dominating opposing lineups ever since her return, and is slated to take the mound against the Falcons in this afternoon’s showdown at James Kenney Park. In her last start, against Granada last Thursday, Bermeo tossed seven innings of shutout ball before finally yielding a run to drop the decision in the eighth.
“Against Foothill (last time), we were missing two starters: Lilli and (shortstop) Jasmine (Jew),” said BHS coach Elena Bermeo. “Two key role players weren’t there, and there were a lot of people out of position.”
With Lilli Bermeo back in the lineup, pitching has been the least of Berkeley’s problems in the second half of the 2000 season, which concludes this Thursday at home against California High. Having failed to score a single run in the past two games, the ’Jackets have lacked the run support to complement Bermeo’s dangerous arm.
“They were hitting (vs. Granada). We got on base – even a few runners on third base, in scoring position. We’re like the Bad News Bears,” the coach said. “(The problem is) there’s no one player that’s too consistent. At any given time, a girl can do anything. We don’t have a go-to player.”
Besides the physical health of Bermeo and Jew, the ’Jackets may have a slight mental advantage over the last time they faced the Falcons. Prior to the April 13 game, Berkeley High was evacuated due to the rekindling of a fire ignited the day before. Though the commotion did not keep Berkeley from making the trip to Pleasanton, the players admit they did not have their minds completely on the game.
“It was a hectic day. People didn’t know where to go, and we weren’t really prepared,” catcher Alice Brugger said. “(Today) we’ll be more focused.”
“I think it’ll be a shock (to Foothill),” Elena Bermeo added. “The second time around (the EBAL schedule), we’ve been playing each team better. It’ll be a closer ballgame.”