CHAMPS! Stags put footprint on Region 8AAA Championship

  • Monday, April 28, 2014

Dan Brown/Independent Another dogpile, this time celebrating the Berkeley Stags’ second straight Region 8AAA championship. In the last three seasons these seniors have accounted for a district championship and two region championships, unprecedented in Stags history.


There was no question of if this night.

Only when.

Taking a 3-0 lead into the fifth inning, the Berkeley Stags blew the doors off the barn scoring seven times — including a five-run sixth inning — to clinch their second consecutive Region 8AAA championship over Hilton Head on Thursday, April 24 at Jim Bradley Field.

“This team and this senior class is one Berkeley Stags baseball fans will talk about for years to come,” said Coach Landy Cox.

Keyed by Kyle Garrick’s bases-loaded, three RBI double in the Stags’ five-run fifth inning, Berkeley brought home its second consecutive region championship.

“I (urinated) all over that fastball,” Garrick said of his line drive double when he scored two-pitches later.

The Stags rode Garrick’s bat and the arm of Zach Gonzales, who threw a complete game two-hit shutout to improve to 4-0 on the season.

“We’re coming together at the right time,” Cox said. “We’re healthy. Our arms aren’t tired. We execute, make the plays, and this team absolutely refuses to lose.”

Berkeley wasted no time in telling the Sea Hawks how their night would progress, posting a three-spot in the first keyed by Josh Simmons’ two-RBI single.

The Stags added two more runs in the fifth inning on Connor Teague’s two-RBI base hit to set up Berkeley’s big sixth inning.

“This team plays great Small Ball,” Cox said. “We take the extra base. We steal runs, like the first-and-third steal in the first when Simmons got in the rundown on the delayed steal. That’s what this time does. We find a way to win.”

Garrick, Simmons and Dillon Salisbury each had two hits to pace the Stags’ 10-hit attack.

Garrick’s three RBIs and Simmons’ two RBIs led the Berkeley hit parade, plus Simmons also accounted for a third run on the delayed steal play.

Gonzales picked up the win, firing six shutout innings, while walking three and striking out three.

The Stags open up the first round of the Class AAA state tournament at Jim Bradley Field on Friday, May 2 as the number one seed. An opponent has yet to be determined.

“This is why we play,” Cox said after his ceremonial Gatorade bath. “We want the big prize.”

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