Berkeley won a ninth consecutive game and took control of the region 8-AAAA softball race with a 3-0 win over rival Cane Bay on Tuesday night.
Berkeley (18-3 overall) scored all their runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to snap a scoreless defensive battle. The Stags improved to 8-1 overall in region eight with a makeup game at Colleton County scheduled for Saturday. Berkeley can win the title outright with a win and would likely win a tie-breaker with Berkeley with a loss. Cane Bay beat Berkeley, 4-2, earlier this season in region play.
Cane Bay dropped to 8-2 in region play and 15-8 overall with the loss. The Cobras are headed for a home playoff game next week after wrapping up the regular season with games against Stratford and Wando.
“This was a great game,” Berkeley coach Boogie Grooms said. “Every pitch was like the playoffs. These kids are learning how to win big games.”
The teams battled scoreless through five and a half innings with Cane Bay wasting several early scoring opportunities. The Cobras out-hit Berkeley, 5-2, but stranded six runners on base
“Give Cane Bay a lot of credit,” Grooms said. “They probably put more balls in play than we did. They have a good team. Sometimes certain teams just play better against certain teams. Cane Bay beat us twice this season. They play us very tough and we knew this would be a difficult game.”
Berkeley opened the sixth with a walk to eighth-grader Jersey Silver. Brooklyn Stueness followed with a sacrifice bunt and Silver, taking advantage of Cane Bay being out of position, went from first to third on the play.
“We knew we had the speed girls coming up in the sixth and we felt if we could get a runner on, we had a chance to make something happen,” Grooms said. “Getting Jersey on was the big key. She is the fastest we have. Coming first to third on the bunt was big. She has the green light to do that if she has it. We’re going to be aggressive when we can.”
Jessica Stanley followed with a deep fly ball to center that was dropped for an error, allowing Silver to score. Madison Wyndham added a single but Stanley was thrown out at the plate by Cane Bay leftfielder Chloe Van Wagner.
Back-to-back errors on ground balls, however, allowed two more runs to cross the plate and gave Berkeley pitcher Ralee Bradham more than enough cushion to preserve the shutout victory.
“We’re on a good roll and the girls are gaining confidence,” Grooms said.