Led by the pitching of junior Raelee Brabham, the Berkeley High softball team claimed its second consecutive championship in the Azalea Invitational Tournament on Tuesday afternoon.
The Stags improved to 18-1 on the season with a convincing 12-2 championship game win over Fort Mill. Berkeley went 5-0 over the two-day tournament at Gahagan Park in Summerville, advancing to the finals with a 2-0 win over rival Hanahan, the defending Class AAA state champions.
First-year head coach Kelly Dillon says winning a spring break tournament is simply another step on the way to being a Class AAAA state title contender.
“Our entire season has been about believing in ourselves and being consistent in what we do,” the former Hanahan all-stater said. “It took an entire team of 16 to get the job done. We talked in pre-game about it being about us, this game right here, right now. Our game to game approach has been the key to our success so far.”
Brabham was named the tournament’s most valuable player. In addition to her solid work in the circle, the Coastal Carolina verbal commit tallied five RBI, including a three-run homer, in the championship game.
“She has really taken on a huge role for our team and she sets the tempo for us,” Dillon said of Brabham. “When she’s having a good game, we just feed off that. She’s stepping up in a big way.”
In the title game, Brabham’s double was a big hit in a three-run first inning that set the tone for the rest of the game. Berkeley added four runs in the second and cruised the rest of the way. Brooklyn Stueness scored three times in the championship game and earned all-tournament honors, along with Kinsey Hutto.
Ten of Berkeley’s 12 runs came from the top five spots in the batting order.