High School Sports

Hilton Head High win over Stags clinches playoff spot

A topsy-turvy baseball region won't finish with Hilton Head High on top for the first time since 2006.

But the Seahawks earned a hefty consolation prize Monday.

Hilton Head High stomped on region-leading Berkeley early and held on for a 9-5 win, sweeping the season series against the Stags, who face Cane Bay in a de-facto region title game Wednesday. The Seahawks clinched a postseason berth and will play at Bluffton High School on Wednesday, with the winner taking third place in Region 7-AAA.

Hilton Head High has handed Berkeley its only two region losses this season.

This one was never in doubt after Michael Haven launched a two-run homer in the first inning that bounced off the top of the wall and over the fence. Haven's blast to left centerfield -- his third against the Stags this year -- gave the Seahawks a 2-1 lead, and they added five more in the third for a six-run cushion.

"I think everything is coming together," Haven said. "I shortened up my swing, and I'm coming right down to the ball. And now I'm finally getting some breaks -- it's more fun this way."

Haven reached base in all four at-bats and finished a double shy of the cycle. The Seahawks centerfielder, who scored three times and drove in a pair Monday, has reached base in eight consecutive plate appearances dating back to last week.

Things were just as healthy for his teammates, who piled together 12 hits in six innings Monday -- including a string of six straight to start the bottom of the third inning and knock Berkeley hard-throwing right-hander Garrett Gallagher out of the game. All six hits came on the first or second pitch of the at-bat.

The top six hitters in the lineup went a combined 12 for 21 with nine runs and eight RBIs. Cameron Stoltz had three of those, and Charlie Wilkins and Kevin Hickey had two each.

"We wanted to find a pitch we could handle early in the count," Seahawks coach Chris Wells said. "I thought the guys came out swinging the bat really well. We did the same thing against them at their place."

Sean Bartlett won his third consecutive game on the mound for the Seahawks, despite pitching without the benefit of his best stuff. Coming off back-to-back no-hitters, Bartlett allowed four of the first five Berkeley hitters to reach base but managed to escape the first inning having allowed only one run.

Bartlett lasted five innings and allowed three runs before giving way to reliever Matt Brown, who threw the final two innings.

"To get out of that (first inning) with only giving up one was the key to the ballgame," Wells said. "There were a lot of keys, but that was the biggest momentum boost we had. Haven came up and hit the homer in the bottom half, and it was all downhill for us that point."

Hilton Head High 9, Berkeley 5

Berk. 100 101 2 -- 5 5 2

HHH 205 110 X -- 9 12 2

WP: Sean Bartlett (5-3) 5 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 5 K, 3 HBP.

LP: Garrett Gallagher 2 IP, 7 ER, 9 H, 0 BB, 1 K.

Hitters: Berkeley -- Dusty Miller 2 for 3, R, RBI, Nick Hill 1 for 3, 2 R; HHH -- Michael Haven 3 for 3, HR, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBIs, Cameron Stoltz 3 for 3, RBI, Charlie Wilkins 2 for 4, 2B, 2 R, Kevin Hickey 2 for 4, R, RBI.

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