Berkeley drops Braves into Lower State losers’ bracket

socbase-16scoopThe Socastee High baseball team’s back is officially against the wall following a two-day duel with Berkeley in the first round of the Class 3A Lower State tournament.

The Stags (23-4) got a stellar effort from starter Zach Gonzales, who pitched a perfect inning on Monday before the game was postponed by rain. He returned to the mound Tuesday to finish a complete-game four-hit shutout of the Braves (24-5) and a 3-0 victory over the visitors.

Socastee, saddled with the burden of making back-to-back bus trips to Berkeley, about four hours round trip by bus, now must make a quick turnaround to keep their postseason hopes alive. They must win four straight games, beginning with Wednesday’s elimination game at home against Gilbert.

Socastee actually out-hit the Stags by a 4-3 margin thanks to a strong effort by reliever Sam McKinney. Trailing 1-0 to resume play in the second inning, the Braves allowed two more runs in the bottom of the frame before McKinney came in to shut Berkeley down the rest of the way.

Unfortunately for Socastee, Gonzales did the same, striking out six while walking only one. Dalton and Kyle Smith had half of the Braves’ hits.

Photo by Shannon Keevert

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