Hanahan—A stellar pitching performance from Jordan Kullnat and some timely hitting helped Berkeley knock off Nansemond River (VA), 6-2, and capture the Steadman Division championship in the Hanahan Invitational Tournament. It was the second time in four days the Stags downed the Warriors.
“I’ve got two goals in high school baseball,” Berkeley head coach Landy Cox said. “I want to win a state championship and I always wanted to win a H.I.T. Tournament with all these teams in it. We came through and everything worked out our way. The kids played well.”
Kullnat allowed two runs on two hits, walked four and struck out three in five innings pitched. Josh Perdue pitched the final two innings to record the save.
“We had given up two earned runs in three games coming into this one. (Kullnat) actually beat Summerville in the jayvee preseason tournament. He throws a knuckleball and we made all the plays behind him. If you throw strikes, you’ll have a chance to win,” Cox said.
Nansemond River scored both of its runs without a hit in the top of the first inning. Gage Williams and Jarret Henderson drew one-out walks and advanced on a wild pitch. Williams crossed the plate on another errant throw by Kullnat, and Henderson came home on an RBI groundout by Matt Culbert.
Berkeley responded with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the frame. Matthew Dress was hit by a pitch and Hayden Dawson followed with a base on balls. C.J. Mack singled to load the bases before Jeffrey Zeigler’s sacrifice fly scored Dress.
A walk to Hunter Hicks packed the sacks again, and Kullnat drew another free pass to force in another run, which chased the Warriors’ starting pitcher.
The Stags took the lead for good in the bottom of the second. Dress reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs and promptly stole second base, and Dawson came through with a single to left field to bring him in.
Nansemond River threatened to tie the game in the top of the third inning, but a baserunning blunder cost them the chance. The Warriors loaded the bases with two outs, but Berkeley catcher Drew Anderson threw behind the runner and Myles Gellar was tagged out trying to score.
A sacrifice fly by Hayden Newbold scored Zeigler in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-2, and Mack added a two-run home run to deep centerfield in the fourth to cap the scoring.
“If you want to win a big ballgame, the seniors have to step up. They did tonight. Dress can fly and stole some bases and put pressure on the defense, C.J. hit it out of the ballpark, and Drew was just Drew. He’s an outstanding player,” Cox said.
Mack, Zeigler and Michael Singletary had two hits each for the Stags, who improved to 9-9 overall. Anderson was 0-for-4 at the plate, but still earned Tournament MVP honors.
Gellar picked up two of the three hits on the night for Nansemond River.
N. River 200 000 0—2 3 0
Berkeley 211 200 x—6 10 0