Stags remain unbeaten
Keyed by an Andrew Lockliear bases loaded sacrifice fly, the Berkeley Stags prevailed over visiting Hilton Head 3-2 to remain unbeaten in 2013 and 5-0 in Region 7AAA play.
The Thursday loss was the Sea Hawks’ first of the season. HHS drops to 11-1 and 5-1 and in second place behind the Stags.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, Lockliear lofted a fly ball to shallow left field.
Zach Gonzales raced home ahead of the throw to end what has been called the best Berkeley game since 2012’s 2-1 District VII championship win over Cane Bay.
Coupled with a 7-3 win over Cane Bay on Thursday Berkeley improved to 13-0 as the season entered its final month.
“This is one of those games where it would have been nice to sit in the bleachers and enjoy this one,” said Coach Landy Cox. “They battled all night and just refused to lose.”
Cox added he had a feeling his team would find a way to pull this one out.
After Gonzales’ fielder’s choice forced Eric Orton at second, Kyle Garrick doubled to deep center advancing Gonzales to third. Connor Teague was intentionally walked to set the stage for Lockliear’s shallow big fly.
“I didn’t think it was deep enough to score him,” Lockliear said, “This was just a great game, and a great game to win.”
Lockliear bulldogged his way through seven-and-a-third innings allowing two runs while scattering eight hits, walking two and K’ing nine.
“He pitched out of trouble all night,” Cox said of his senior southpaw. “He had runners on base almost every inning yet refused to let anyone score. This was his best game of the year.”
With a 3-0 record on the season, Lockliear didn’t factor into the decision on the mound, so he instead took care of business at the plate.
“The defense played great behind me and made the plays we needed to make to keep us in the game and give us a chance to win it,” he said.
The win went to Gonzales who improved to 5-0 on the season.
Gonzales, Garrick and Teague led the Stags with two hits each. Garrick also added a pair of RBIs.
While Berkeley takes part in the Hanahan Invitational Tournament this week, schedule watchers have already circled Friday, April 19 on the calendar when the Stags travel to Hilton Head for Round Two.
“When we play Hilton Head we know it’s going to be a one-run game,” Cox said. “That’s just the way these two teams play.”
Dan Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org