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Little mistakes add up as Berkeley Prep falls in state final

A loss to Coconut Creek North Broward Prep in the Class 3A final is a frustrating conclusion to a fantastic season for the Bucs.
North Broward Prep players celebrate as Berkeley Prep second baseman Anthony Castillo stops between first and second base following the final out of the Class 3A final. North Broward Prep won 5-3.
North Broward Prep players celebrate as Berkeley Prep second baseman Anthony Castillo stops between first and second base following the final out of the Class 3A final. North Broward Prep won 5-3. [ SCOTT PURKS | Scott Purks, Special to the Times ]
Published May 25

FORT MYERS — Standing on the steaming hot field at Hammond Stadium Wednesday afternoon, Berkeley Prep star shortstop Cade Kurland couldn’t pinpoint any particular reason the Bucs lost 5-3 to Coconut Creek North Broward Prep in the Class 3A final.

“There were a lot of little things, little mistakes, that added up,” Kurland said. “We made more little mistakes than (North Broward Prep), did and that was the difference.”

In the end, it was a frustrating conclusion to a fantastic 28-4 season and the high school career for Kurland, a junior graduating early to play for the University of Florida next year.

Berkeley Prep shortstop Cade Kurland rejoices while rounding second base after hitting a towering home run in the fifth inning to give the Bucs a one-run lead.
Berkeley Prep shortstop Cade Kurland rejoices while rounding second base after hitting a towering home run in the fifth inning to give the Bucs a one-run lead. [ SCOTT PURKS | Scott Purks, Special to the Times ]

For a moment, however, it appeared Berkeley might wrap up everything in a nice, tidy Kurland bow.

The optimism came in the fifth inning when Kurland launched his 13th homer of the year well over the leftfield fence, giving the Bucs a 3-2 lead with only two North Broward at-bats remaining.

Kurland’s brother, freshman lefty starter Rivers Kurland, also appeared to have settled into a nice groove for a sweet finish.

But in the sixth inning, many of the little mistakes piled up.

Berkeley Prep freshman Rivers Kurland was tough throughout his six innings of work.
Berkeley Prep freshman Rivers Kurland was tough throughout his six innings of work. [ SCOTT PURKS | Scott Purks, Special to the Times ]

There was the two-strike pitch left up that North Broward’s leadoff hitter rapped for a double, followed by a walk, a fielder’s choice, another double and an error. The next thing Berkeley knew, North Broward led 5-3.

Like his brother, Rivers Kurland was frustrated with the outcome but not despondent. He was thoughtful and a bit philosophical.

“I wasn’t really nervous, because I believe my stuff (mid-80s fastball with movement, a nasty curve and a solid changeup) is good enough to get good hitters out,” Rivers Kurland said. “But I let some leadoff hitters get on and gave some good hitters some pitches to hit. It was just a few little things that didn’t go right.”

Berkeley did end up collecting more hits, eight, to North Broward’s four. But North Broward (23-9), which won the Class 4A title last year before dropping down to 3A, was simply more timely, opportunistic and clean.

Berkeley Prep second baseman Anthony Castillo celebrates after smacking a double in the fifth inning.
Berkeley Prep second baseman Anthony Castillo celebrates after smacking a double in the fifth inning. [ SCOTT PURKS | Scott Purks, Special to the Times ]

“We just didn’t take care of the baseball, and against a really good opponent in a game of this magnitude you have to take care of the baseball,” said Berkeley Prep coach Richie Warren, who is in his seventh year with the Bucs. “We just felt like we could have done a little better job (Wednesday). But it happens. It was a great season.”

Berkeley, which came into the game ranked No. 2 in Class 3A and No. 6 nationally by Maxpreps.com, was trying to win its first state title since 1976.

Berkeley loses seven players this year to graduation, but Warren remains optimistic.

“We have a lot of talent coming back,” he said. “We will be okay.”

Berkeley Prep greets Cade Kurland at home plate after his towering home run gave the Bucs a one-run lead in the fifth inning.
Berkeley Prep greets Cade Kurland at home plate after his towering home run gave the Bucs a one-run lead in the fifth inning. [ SCOTT PURKS | Scott Purks, Special to the Times ]
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