Christian Bergman adds to impressive year in postseason with Modesto Nuts

The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Modesto Nuts: For the first time since 2004, the Nuts earned a trip to the California League Championship Series after they captured the league’s North Division title by defeating San Jose in a best two-out-of-three series and taking down the Bakersfield Blaze in a three-out-of-five affair.

Bergman, of course, had a big part to play in getting Modesto there. He finished the regular season as the league’s pitcher of the year after he went 16-5 with a 3.65 earned-run average in 162 2/3 innings this season.

The former Golden Knight has kept up his pace in the postseason. He picked up a win and a loss in two appearances — one start and one in relief — that spanned 12 innings. He’s struck out 14 and given up just eight hits and two walks in the playoffs.

Bergman first pitched seven innings of three-run ball — two earned — in the California League North Division playoff opener against the San Jose Giants in the series opener Sept. 5. The Nuts couldn’t save Bergman, who struck out nine, gave up six hits and one walk, from the loss, 3-1. It was his first loss since June 16.

Modesto, which finished second in the North Division in the regular season with a 73-67 record, bounced back and won the next two games in the best-of-three to move on and face the Bakersfield Blaze in the California League North Division Finals. Bergman’s only appearance in the series came in relief Monday to start the fifth inning with Modesto leading 6-1.

Bergman picked up the win, 12-1, in dominating fashion, as he pitched the final five innings and struck out five, walked one and gave up two hits to pull Modesto within a game of the of the Blaze, who led the series 2-1 at that point.

The Nuts completed the comeback in the best-of-five set with 3-2 and 6-2 wins on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, to send them to the league finals against the Lancaster Jethawks.

Bergman has yet to appear in the league finals, which were set to continue Saturday at 7 p.m. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Nuts will need to win out in the final three games to capture the Pioneer League title.

Doug Slaten (Glendale Community College, 1999) relief pitcher, Indianapolis Indians: Slaten finished off his 2012 season with the Indians, the triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, with three spotless one-inning relief appearances.

The former Vaquero didn't allow a baserunner in his final regular season appearance Sept. 1 in a 8-4 win over the Toledo Mud Hens to finish the regular season with a 3-3 record, 2.11 ERA and 40 appearances. Slaten gave up 30 hits, 13 walks and struck out 24 batters through 42 2/3 innings.

Slaten had two more perfect relief appearances in the International League playoffs. Indianapolis, which won the league's West Division with an 89-55 record, opened the postseason with the Charlotte Knights.

Slaten didn't allow a hit or walk for a perfect ninth inning in the Indians' 14-13 loss to the Knights in the second game of the best-of-five series Sept. 6. He also pitched a spotless seventh with two strikeouts in Indianapolis' final game of the season — a 6-4 loss to the Knights on Sept. 8.

Joe De Pinto (St. Francis High, 2007) second baseman, Kannapolis Intimidators: A disappointing season ended in deflating fashion for De Pinto, as he went hitless in his final five games and 13 at bats with the Intimidators, the Class-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

The former Golden Knight batted .237 (62 for 262) with 23 RBI, 11 doubles, three triples and five stolen bases this year in Kannapolis. He did string back-to-back multi-hit games Aug. 28 and 29. He went two for three with two runs in a 9-1 win over the Greenville Drive and followed it up with a two-for-four game with a run scored in a 5-4 loss to the Drive the next day.

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