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'Jackets go 2-1 in spring tournament
Hilmar Pic
Preston Costa of Hilmar goes back to first base after a pickoff attempt in the fifth inning of Thursdays win over Mariposa. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Hilmar baseball finished their spring tournament at 2-1, ending the three-day event with a 9-8 win over Southern Athletic League's Mariposa at home on Thursday.


“Today seemed like we had communication issues where we could have gone with another play during those bumpy innings, but luckily we forced them to swing the bats at tough pitches,” said Hilmar head coach Bobby Swedberg.


Junior right-handed pitcher Zach Berberia took the mound for the Hilmar Yellowjackets and tossed a seven-inning complete game, picking up the win after a late surge from his team.


After imploding against Orestimba on Tuesday, Hilmar knew that they needed to overcome those issues if they wanted to get back on the winning track.


Hilmar still committed multiple errors against Mariposa, including a two error inning in the sixth, which saw the 'Jackets give up the lead at 8-6.


“We are playing for outs at that point, but communication really hurt,” said Swedberg. “A couple of errors we had with backhands, not routine plays, if we make them, then great, but today I thought we played well defensively even though we made errors, they weren't easy errors.”


Berberia, who only allowed one earned run, got out of the inning just down by two heading into the bottom of the sixth.


Tyler Amarante led off in the sixth with a fielder’s choice, and Vital Verissimo followed with a bunt that caused Mariposa to commit an error, moving both Amarante and Verissimo into scoring position with no outs at that point.


Alex Chavez, who was 2 for 3, then walked the bases loaded, setting up junior Preston Costa for an opportunity to break the game wide open with no outs.


Costa was able to drive the second pitch up the middle and under the legs of the second baseman, scoring Amarante and Verissimo to tie it at 8-8 with no outs.


“Guys got on base and we hit the ball well. We hit the ball well all tournament really,” said Swedberg. “Our guys are getting key hits and getting on base.”


Hilmar tacked on eight hits for the game.


Jarrod Willis and his RBI sac-fly drove in Chavez for the go-ahead run to make it 9-8.


“Jarrod, I mean, you tip your hat to him and his doubles and multiple runs driven in,” Swedberg said of Willis. “But getting on base was key today and then getting the hits, which is huge for any team, gets momentum going, but up 6-1 at one point, we just had a bad inning and let them get back in it, we have to get better.”


Willis was 2 for 4 with two RBI and a double. Noah Batista finished with an RBI and a double.


“Zach helped keep us calm,” said Swedberg. “He competes and put himself in a bad situation getting guys on who didn't deserve it but he still goes and throws strikes and makes plays at the mound, he gives you 110 percent and knowing we had him in that made us confident that we could compete for sure.”


Berberia managed to strike out six and also helped himself on offense with multiple hits and an RBI.

Hilmar's next game will be on the road at Mountain House at 4 p.m. Tuesday.