Matt Berezay – who took his baseball career from the Little League diamonds at Lincoln Park to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization - is the first former player inductee for the Manteca Little League Hall of Fame.
Joining him will be Al Nunes who was one of the key people in starting the league more than 25 years ago.
Berezay and Nunes will be inducted during a dinner dance on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. at the MRPS Hall. Tickets are $30 per person.
Berezay started his baseball career in Manteca Little League as an 8-year-old playing in the Farm Division. The next year, Matt was drafted to the Majors Division as a 9-year-old, completely bypassing the Minors Division. He slammed three homeruns as a 9-year-old playing Majors. During his four years of playing in the Majors Division, he became very well known for spectacular plays at shortstop and for belting a homerun onto the snack bar roof measuring 320 feet. Berezay’s finest Little League season was the year he hit 13 homeruns, leading his team to the Division title and Tournament of Champions despite missing two weeks during the season because of appendicitis. He was a Manteca Little League All-Star all four years of All-Star eligibility.
Berezay went on to play at Sierra High School where he competed at the varsity level for three years. His high school baseball statistics included a .470 batting average with 16 homeruns and 130 runs batted in. He was also the Valley Oak League most valuable player, Stockton Record All-Area Baseball Team, twice Modesto Bee All-District Team pick, three-time Tri-Valley Herald Prep Award, and California Interscholastic Federation First Team All-State selection.
Berezay went on to Modesto Junior College where he had a .343 batting average with 15 homeruns and 80 runs batted in.
Berezay was drafted by the San Francisco Giants. He declined to sign and instead accepted a scholarship to play baseball at the University of the Pacific.
He had an outstanding two year career at UOP from 2005-06. His time there included belting 26 homeruns, which ranks third on the All-Time on UOP’s homerun list despite only playing two seasons for the Tigers. Berezay was drafted in 2006 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He went on to play three professional seasons in the Dodgers organization despite being slowed by shoulder surgery; he still belted 32 professional homeruns.
Berezay had an incredible work ethic growing up.
He could be found most weekends at Sierra High or Manteca High schools with his Dad, who was either hitting him fly-balls or pitching to him.
“I learn how to play the game at practice, but then I go home and work at making myself a better all around player,” Berezay said as to why he was so dedicated.
In the fall of 2009, Berezay returned to the University of the Pacific to resume his college education, and graduated with a degree in Communications.