The Cabrillo Jaguars baseball program has hired a new coach, and it’s someone that Moore League baseball fans may remember.
Phillip Berman, 25, took the job just before Christmas when coach Pedro Torres abruptly resigned. Berman was an All-Moore League first baseman at Jordan High (2013) and graduated from William Penn University.
“They asked me to take the job and I said ‘100 percent I’m in!’,” recalled Berman, who was Cabrillo’s assistant coach last season. “For me personally I want a program that’s known for being hard nosed and is willing to do whatever it takes to win.”
Berman will have a solid pitching staff to rely on with senior Dylan Gambino (pictured) leading the way. Last year, Gambino pitched incredibly well in a pair of 1-0 losses to Long Beach Poly and Wilson.
“He’s shown a couple times over the last two years that he can be dominant,” Berman said. “He’s consistent with three pitches for strikes. Any time he’s on the mound we’ll have a chance to win.”
Gambino said his team is happy to have Berman, and are ready to approach the game a little differently.
“Our team is really intense this year,” Gambino said. “We’re hyped and we’re going to come ready to play. We’re going to battle. That comes from Berman. He gives us that intensity and he’s a really good coach. I love his college coaching style. We’re really organized this year.”
Seniors Apolinar Gonzalez, Issac Vera and Omar Camargo round out the strong pitching staff. Gonzalez and Vera have adopted Berman’s strategy to attack batters and not waste pitches.
First-Team All-Moore Leaguer Gonzalez will also play catcher and hit third in the lineup behind shortstop Jarel Barnes and center fielder David Rodriguez. Gonzalez hit .487 last year with 24 RBIs, four home runs and a .802 slugging percentage.
Berman knows the Moore League, and knows that defense will be key to success against the top half of the league.
“We spend a ton of time (in practice) on bunt coverages, picks cuts and relays and all that team defense stuff,” Berman said. “We can think we’re a good team all we want, but until we start beating the upper echelon teams it doesn’t matter.”