Debut on the MLB mound

2004 Foothill High grad Bradley Bergeson earns first win in Major League start for Orioles

Former Pleasanton resident Brad Bergeson made his first trip to the Major League Baseball mound Tuesday night, only allowing one earned run in 5-2/3 innings, elevating the Baltimore Orioles to a 10-3 win over the Chicago White Sox and cutting their five-game losing streak.

It was a shining moment for the 2004 Foothill High School graduate.

Speaking to, Bergeson said after the game, "I think nervous would be an understatement," he said of his emotions. "My heart was pounding about 1,000 beats a second. I felt like I tried to keep my composure as much as possible, but it was tough tonight."

Wearing No. 64, the 6'2" right-hander may be pitching in the rotation for a while according to the MLB, which said he's replacing pitcher Alfredo Simon, who is expected to be out with an elbow injury for at least a month.

Bergesen, 23, is listed as being 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk. The rookie was drafted in 2004 in the fourth round by the Orioles. He signed with the University of San Diego before that.

Among those who watched the game was Kim Eppard, who coached Bergesen in pitching at Foothill and at The Pitching Center in Pleasanton.

"He's a better person than he is a player, and he's a tremendous player," Eppard said. "On one level, he's very humble, very mannerly, gets along with everybody. On a second level, he's a very fierce competitor."

Bergeson has been an instructor with The Pitching Center for two years.

"With his talents, he outworked everyone in this area in high school," said Eppard, adding that Bergeson went 12-0 his senior year and hit in the .400 range as a lefty batter.

While Bergeson was dominating at the high school level, he he'll have more competition in the major-leagues, Eppard said, but he does have tricks up his sleeve.

"He throws in the 80s and low 90s and really what makes it work for him is he's got good movement on his fastball," he said. "He's considered a sinkerball pitcher. He's got a tremendous changeup and he's got a unique grip that he got from my fellow coach Jason Sekany, who also played pro ball."

Eppard said Bergeson married his wife Shea last October and the couple lives in Maryland.

"Now he's back East, so we're going to miss seeing him all the time, but it's a great story," Eppard said. "We've all got our fingers crossed that he's going to have himself a nice, long career in the major-leagues because it just couldn't happen to a nicer guy."

Angelo Scavone, who is head coach of Foothill's varsity baseball team, said he remembers Bergeson from his high school days fondly.

"It's pretty exciting," Scavone said. "I think it's the first big leaguer in the history of Pleasanton."

Scavone said he still talks to Bergeson, most recently seeing him a couple of times this past winter.

"He is the only player that I have coached that thanked the coaching staff after every practice before he left the field," Scavone said. "His dad built our snack bar for us on our varsity baseball field."

The players on this year's varsity Foothill team are excited that an alumnus has reached the majors, Scavone said, adding that he's gotten a lot of emails from people.

Bergeson was the Orioles' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008, along with the MVP of the Double A All Star Game. His mother, Sue, who now lives in Alabama, was a past president of the Pleasanton American Little League in 1998. His father Art now lives in Fairfield. For photos and stats on Bergeson, click here

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Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 22, 2009 at 10:41 am

Congratulations Brad!

I watched highlights and followed the stories from last night's game and I am so happy for you.

It was wonderful watching you in high school - and hope this MLB debut is just the beginning of many more games I can watch, and follow your baseball career.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm

I had the pleasure of coaching Brad in football. A finer young man you're never going to meet.
Dreams do come true!
You may pitch in the Majors for another 20 years (Why should Randy Johnson represent the Tri-Valley and have all the fun?) but I'll always remember the opening play of the second half against our cross-town rival, when you took a 111 Trap behind the block of Mark Gaulden and went 68 yards for what proved to be the winning touchdown!
Congratulations Brad! You're an inspiration to us all...

Like this comment
Posted by D W
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I find it hard to believe that no Pleasantonian had reached the majors until Bergeson debuted at Camden Yards and impressively cooled off a White Sox team that had won 3 of 4 against the defending AL Pennant winning Rays in St Pete.

While I'm aware that of the four major team sports - football, soccer, basketball, and baseball - baseball has produced the fewest results for Pleasanton, if there are any Pleasanton high school sports historians who can tell us who among Amador's 3 EBAL Champion teams had the best chance to reach the bigs or if we're missing anyone else, please feel free to share. It will remain especially rare for us in baseball thanks to Danville's amazing Little League history producing so much talent at Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley plus De La Salle now in the league, never mind Livermore & Cal High producing decent players as well.

Like this comment
Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Wasn't John Vukovich the first Pleasantonian to make it to the bigs after attending Amador Valley? He attended American River for college and then was drafted by the Phillies in the 1st round back in 1996. He also coached and managed a couple teams.

Congrats to Brad nonetheless of course.

Like this comment
Posted by Pro-Law
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Correction on the draft year for Vukovich - it was 1966***

Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Ned Yost graduated from Dublin High in 1972, but I know his brother later graduated from Foothill in the early 80's. So Ned might have lived in Pleasanton and gone to Dublin in the Pre-Foothill era...

Like this comment
Posted by Dublnmike
a resident of Dublin
on Apr 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

As a citizen of the Tri-Valley since 1956, I am happy ANYONE from Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville and Sunol make it to the big time!

Our Tri-Valley has been blessed with many that came to the area or were raised here. To name two, Max Baer, Sr. and George Foreman. For the born & raised, there are scores and I wish someone would put in time to research and published their names. I personally know of several in Livermore that made it to the NFL, if only for one year.

And there are those individuals who made it to college but were first stringers and/or helped their schools make it to the championships.

Like this comment
Posted by SportsFan
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 23, 2009 at 10:04 am

What about Nick DeBarr (AVHS grad-baseball) and Scott Peters (AVHS grad-football). Scott played briefly in the pros before being sidelined with an injury. Nick played for a minor league team although I can't recall the team name.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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