The Berkeley High School softball team won four straight games April 19-20, during the Palmetto Invitational Tournament, to come out on top of a reputable field.
The Stags defeated Fort Dorchester 11-2 on Saturday in the title game of the tournament’s Gold Division to capture the 2019 Palmetto Invitational Championship. This year’s spring break tournament included four teams that have clinched a region championship plus several other teams that have qualified for the state playoffs.
“It’s been an interesting year because we lost our senior starting pitcher so for us to come in the week before playoffs and win this tournament is big,” Berkeley coach Kelley Dillon said. “This team has continued to progress over the season so this trophy means a lot and it’s a good booster for our confidence.”
Despite the adversity, the Stags (17-5) claimed the Region 7-AAAAA championship and open the playoffs on April 25 by hosting the No. 3 seed from Region 4. Their district also includes Lexington and St. James.
“Things are coming together,” Dillon said. “We are working well together as a team. We have 14 girls and nine of them are (upperclassmen) so they are rallying everyone around the spirit of this is when everything starts to mean something. You practice and play to get to the postseason and we have a very seasoned group of young ladies who know what it takes to put ourselves deep into the playoffs.”
Berkeley outhit Fort Dorchester 13-4 during the tournament title game. Haylee Wilkerson led the way, going 3 for 3 at the plate with five RBIs and three runs scored. Brooklynn Stueness was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and three runs scored and Jersey Silver was 3 for 4 with four runs scored. Alexus Shreve was 2 for 3 with two RBIs.
Berkeley used three pitchers, who combined to allow one earned run while striking out three batters and walking two. Allysen Hewette and Zada Morgan each threw two innings before Gracie Decuir entered the circle and closed the game out.
Berkeley scored three runs in both the first and second inning, added two runs in the fourth and plated three more runs in the sixth.
The Stags wasted little time getting started. Berkeley’s first three batters (Silver, Stueness and Wilkerson) singled to push a run across. Then Shreve doubled to drive in a pair of runs for a 3-0 Stags lead.
Fort Dorchester pushed a run across in the bottom of the frame, but the Stags responded with another big inning. Silver tripled and scored off a double by Stueness. Wilkerson then stepped to the plate and hit a home run to left field for a 6-1 Berkeley lead.
Fort Dorchester’s Abby Briganti doubled to drive in Jewel Cooper in the bottom of the second but the Stags didn’t allow another score the rest of the game.
In the fourth, Silver doubled and scored off a Stueness hit. Stueness stole second, advanced to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly from Wilkerson for an 8-2 Berkeley lead.
Savannah Whetzel opened the top of the sixth with a single and scored off a double from Wilkerson. Berkeley then scored a run on a wild pitch and another on a sacrifice groundout off the bat of Madison Wyndham.
Berkeley advanced to the tournament semifinals with a 9-0 win over Wando and a 19-1 win over Berea. The Stags then defeated Summerville 10-9 to advance to the title game.
Ashley Ridge won the Silver Division of the tournament while Cane Bay won the Bronze Division and Waccamaw won the Copper Division.