The Pittsburg High boys soccer team didn't start the regular season the way it had hoped. Now the Pirates are starting to show why they might be one of the best teams in the East Bay.

Following a 1-0 nonleague loss to Amador Valley on Nov. 28, Pittsburg has begun the Tri-Valley Challenge with two straight wins, including a 5-3 victory over College Park on Wednesday night. The Pirates also beat Berkeley 3-1 on Dec. 1.

"The first 15 minutes they took over the midfield," Pittsburg coach Pablo Gaytan said of College Park. "But it slowed down a bit after we switched formations and adjusted outside."

The Pirates (2-1) trailed 1-0 after the Falcons' Ben Reiter converted a penalty kick in the 15th minute. But Pittsburg scored the next four goals, including two by Jose Hernandez in the first five minutes of the second half that gave his team a 4-1 lead.

Izzy Murgia buried a strike into the top left corner to tie the score 1-1. The Pirates took the lead three minutes before halftime when Esteban Berumen scored his first goal.

With his team trailing 4-1, Andres Garcia scored for the Falcons (2-4-2) on what was easily the finest play of the match, burying a left-footed strike from 30 yards out. Reiter made it a one-score affair with four minutes left, but Berumen scored his second goal in the 80th minute.

Track and field


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San Leandro High track star Nijae Jones has made an oral commitment to Cal.

"They had a lot of the things I wanted for college. They had a nice atmosphere, a lot of diversity. The team had a family atmosphere," said Jones, who also mentioned the coaches and the top-notch education at Cal.

Jones said she also considered Central Florida. Jones finished sixth in the California Interscholastic Federation state girls 800 meter final in June with an excellent time of 2 minutes, 10.39 seconds.

-- Phil Jensen