Wednesday, March 20, 2013
“We don’t lose at home,” Stags baseball coach Landy Cox told his team with the game tied 1-1 in the fifth inning against Brookland-Cayce. “We’re running out of time here, you know we don’t lose at home.”
The Stags responded with a four-run inning to win going away, 5-1.
Berkeley has been fun to watch this baseball season. They won the Post 166 Pre-Season Invitational Tournament by beating defending Class AAAA state champions Ashley Ridge.
They beat Brookland-Cayce twice.
And against lesser competition the Stags have made the games laughers early on.
While Cox is not a pessimist he sees the overall picture and the ultimate goal at the end, and won’t be satisfied until that ultimate goal is achieved. But he will admit this season has the potential to be something really special, and so far he’s having a blast.
“I’m enjoying this,” Cox said during a Friday afternoon practice. “We are playing good and solid baseball so far, and if you want to see how committed these guys are to winning, come watch a Berkeley practice. These guys lay it all out, practice or game you can’t tell the difference.”
The Cardinal Rule of Baseball: Play like you practice, practice like you play. Berkeley is doing exactly that.
The Stags are 7-0 going into Region 7AAA play this week.
“The thing I enjoy most about this season and this team is their selflessness,” he said. “To a man they do not put themselves first. It’s all about the team, the school and this baseball program.”
This is a pure Small Ball baseball team with the only home run hit this season coming off the bat of Kyle Garrick in the eighth inning of the Post 166 tourney championship game to down Ashley Ridge.
“This team doesn’t play for the long ball,” Cox said. “They don’t try to over extend. They play within themselves and make contact with the ball to put it in play and make something positive happen. They execute when we need the play.”
When Cox says ‘execute’ he means this team hits and hits with authority.
The Stags are hitting at a .333 clip as a team through the first seven ball games, and have three hitters hitting above .400, led by Eric Orton’s .458 clip and Zach Gonzales nipping at his heels hitting .450. Connor Teague is hitting .400 with 7 RBIs.
Kyle Garrick hitting .391 leads the team in RBIs with nine and has the team’s lone home run.
As a team the Stags have just 17 extra base hits, but have walked 36 times over the team’s first seven games.
They play station-to-station baseball to the tune more than 8 runs a game.
Their 58 runs scored to just 24 runs allowed means the Stags are getting quality pitching coupled with stifling defense.
Andrew Lockliear and sophomore Zach Gonzales have busted out of the gates with 3-0 records each. Lockliear has racked up 18 K’s in 21 innings with an ERA of 2.00 a game. Gonzales has been nearly unhittable – literally – allowing just two hits over 15 innings pitched for a 0.47 ERA and a no-hitter to his credit.
Defensively the Stags have committed just seven errors over the first seven games, just one per game for a .967 fielding clip.
This week James Island and Hanahan kick off a wicked Region 7AAA schedule and will quickly test the Stags’ good early-season fortunes. Right on their heels is Hilton Head.
“This is just getting started,” Cox said. “You’re going to see some good baseball in the next couple weeks.”