Friday, April 18, 2014
There are some games you don’t forget.
This was one of them.
This game had it all – lots of blown calls, great defensive plays, hard hustle by both teams, passionate debate from the coaches, umpires and even some fans.
When the dust settled Hartsville came out on top, winning 5-2 in the HIT bracket finals over Berkeley April 16.
There was no love lost between these two newborn rivals, who will probably meet again somewhere down the line in the playoffs with a season on the line.
The Stags can’t wait.
“This is war plain and simple,” said Coach Landy Cox during the 11-inning, three-and-a-half hour marathon that didn’t end until almost midnight.
The game saw classic pitching from Stags hurlers Joe Glauser and Jeffrey Stone, pitching out of possible game-ending jams. Everything a coach wants to see.
There was some great clutch hitting with the Stags down by a run in the seventh inning to keep the game alive, and potential game-winning hits in the extra innings only to have the rally squelched by a great defensive play from Hartsville.
A three-run top of the eleventh gave the game to Hartsville, but as Cox told his players, this is just the HIT tournament.
“We resume playing for real next week for the real prize, a region championship,” he said.
This game and how the Berkeley nine played throughout the tournament was one giant leap for Stag-kind in realizing a back-to-back region title.
Zach Gonzales, had himself a day, following stellar eight-inning pitching performance earlier in the day with a three-hit night. And when Hartsville didn’t walk him, his outs left a couple red marks behind.
Kyle Garrick continued his clutch hitting for the tournament with a pair of hits.
Stone, who relieved Glauser in the sixth, pitched out of jam after jam, scattering seven hits over four-and-two-thirds innings.
A 35-minute bench clearing altercation in the eighth inning delayed the contest.
“These were two great ball teams going nose-to-nose and refusing to give an inch,” Cox said. “Great baseball game.”
The Stags finished 3-1 for the HIT tournament and stand at 15-3 for the year.
The five runs surrendered to Hartsville were the most runs given up by the Stags all season and resulted in a tiny bump to Berkeley’s team 0.88 ERA.
This team throws strikes and when opponents hit the ball, one of the eight guys behind the mound catches it.
Glauser and Stone have gobbled up a ton of quality innings on the mound while Gonzales got healthy. Now, with the playoffs looming, BHS will enter the fray with three game-stopping arms.
At the plate the Stags are hitting .312 as a team. Not as high as the two previous seasons, but they get the big hits when they are needed most.
Dillon Salisbury hasn’t taken a bad swing all season and leads the way with a .426 average. Chase Ganey, just a sophomore, follows up at .421 and found himself at the plate with the game on the line several times last week alone.
More times than not the Stags third baseman has delivered the big hits.
Berkeley averages a little more than seven runs a game to support a pitching staff that allows less than a run a game.
The Stags resume play this week with four games in four days, hitting the road to take on Stall and Orangeburg-Wilkinson, plus a non-region tilt against Summerville sandwiched in between, before returning to Jim Bradley Field on Thursday to play Hilton Head for the Region 8AAA championship.
Dog pile sightings are expected.
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