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Colleton County hangs on for 6-5 victory over Berkeley

Moncks Corner—Over the last decade, the Colleton County baseball team hasn’t fared well when playing at Berkeley’s Jim Bradley Field.  However, the Cougars finally bucked that trend with a 6-5 victory over the Stags on Tuesday night.

Colleton County scored an unearned run in the top of the seventh and held off one final rally from Berkeley to earn the win.  The Cougars improved to 3-1 in region play, tied for second in the standings behind Beaufort, while the Stags fell to 1-3.

“It was a real big win,” Colleton County head coach Jermale Paige said.  “It’s always personal coming to Berkeley because we’re used to them shutting the door on us.  We finally came down here and got a big region win.  We just want to continue to let this thing roll.”

The Cougars jumped out to an early lead by plating a run in their first at-bat.  Cody Cox drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a groundout before Reese Penfield’s single brought him home.

Colleton County added three more runs in the top of the second inning.  Josh Kinard and Kaleb Gibson had back-to-back singles before Trey Nettles was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Two passed balls allowed Kinard and Gibson to cross the plate, and Nettles later tagged and scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Cox.

Berkeley bounced back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, thanks in part to some control issues by Colleton County starting pitcher Lake Boseman.  Boseman walked the bases loaded before giving way to Chase Hadwin, who got Jeffrey Zeigler to ground into a double play.  Hunter Hicks made it 4-2 after sliding in safely on a wild pitch.

“Boseman didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but sometimes it’s going to be like that.  We’re all human,” Paige said.  “Hadwin came in and shut the door, and Reese made a big time play behind him on that double play ball.  After that, Hadwin settled in and did what we asked him to do.”

The Cougars made a leadoff walk pay off with another tally in the fourth.  Kinard reached on a base on balls and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Gibson.  However, the Stags threw the ball away at first and allowed both runners to move into scoring position.  Nettles followed with an RBI groundout to second base.

Berkeley sliced into the margin in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Drew Anderson and C.J. Mack had consecutive singles, and Hicks laced a double down the right field line to drive in Anderson.  Zeigler brought home Mack on a ground ball to second base, but Hadwin got Cole Garrick to bounce out to third to end the threat.

Colleton County got an important insurance run in run in the seventh on several Stags miscues.  Michael Thigpen singled to left field and was replaced by pinch-runner James McDowell.  McDowell went to second on a botched pickoff attempt, and Penfield moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt.

Berkeley pitcher Blake Southard got Henry Gibson to strike out for the second out and appeared to get out of the frame unscathed after inducing a ground ball to second base by Alan Grym.  However, the ball was mishandled and allowed Grym to reach base and McDowell to score.

“We press a lot about putting the ball in play with runners on.  We work on it during practice and it pays off during the game.  It’s not new to us,” Paige said.

The Stags had one final chance to even things up in their final plate appearance, but came up just short.  Anderson got aboard on a one-out, infield single and went to second on an errant throw to first during the play.  After a groundout, Anderson crossed home on an RBI base hit from Hicks.  With the tying run at first, Hadwin got Zeigler to line out to the shortstop for the final out.

Both teams will continue conference play on the road this Friday as Colleton County goes to Stall and Berkeley travels to Cane Bay.


SCORING SUMMARY

Colleton County  130   100   1—6   6   1

Berkeley            002   020   1—5   6   5


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