Keyed by a six-RBI night that inluded a walkoff grand slam by senior Kyle Garrick, the Berkeley Stags advanced to the District VIII finals with a 13-1 switch-whipping of Marlboro County Monday, May 5 at Jim Bradley Field in Moncks Corner.
The Stags have outscored their playoff opponents 22-2 in two games and will take on the loser’s bracket winner on Friday, May 9. They need just one win to claim their second district title in three years.
Berkeley gave Coastal Carolina prospect Connor Tate something of a rude welcome to town, scoring on the lanky righthander at will and sending his near 90-mph fastball back up the middle a little faster than it came to the plate.
“We are a team that refuses to lose, especially at home,” said Coach Landy Cox of his 21-3 Stags.
Berkeley’s only home loss this season came during the HIT tournament, an 11-inning war with Hartsville.
Garrick’s sixth-inning grand slam was one of two hits for the plus-.400 hitting catcher. The drive curled inside the foul pole and landed in Lake Berkeley, far beyond the left field fence.
Garrick wasn’t the only Berkeley hitter to rough up Pate.
Chase Ganey had two hits and scored twice and Dillon Salisbury got the game rolling with a run-scoring double, one of two RBIs on the night.
Josh Simmons also had a pair of big hits on the night and scored a run.
The Stags have three players hitting over .400 in Ganey (.419), Garrick (.414) and Salisbury (.400).
Simmons is inching closer to the .400 mark at .391.
Simmons and Teague are getting hot at the right time where Ganey, Garrick and Salisbury have been blistering the cover off the ball all season long.
The Stags are hitting .338 as a team and have outscored their opponents 180-32 on the season.
On the hill, Joe Glauser pitched into the fourth inning before giving way to Jeffrey Stone, who threw two-plus innings for the win to improve to 6-1 on the season.
The Stags moundstaff boasts a microscopic 0.80 ERA and have allowed just 18 earned runs.
“We play simple baseball,” Cox said. “We hit the ball, catch the ball and throw the ball where it’s supposed to go.”