The Dutch Fork baseball team put together a 15-13 report card in 2008 – the last season for veteran Silver Foxes coach Al Berry, who started the Silver Foxes baseball program from scratch 16 years ago.
“This is my last year as head coach at Dutch Fork, and I have greatly enjoyed my sixteen years coaching baseball here,” said Berry. “Each young man that I have had the honor of coaching, has made me a better person.”
The Silver Foxes, who advanced to the Elite Eight in 2007, did not get quite as far along the playoff road this season, but still had some notable accomplishments. DF shared the Region 5-4A championship and advanced to the District VI championship game where it fell 3-2 to eventual Lower State champion Conway.
“We had a good season,” said Berry. “Our senior players Derek Moses, Will Rolin, Nick Giles, Shea Solomon, and Thomas Peterson offered great leadership and all had good senior seasons. We were eliminated by a very talented Conway team.”
Solomon, Peterson and catcher Moses were everyday starters for the Silver Foxes. Solomon led the team with a .393 batting average and a .485 on-base percentage, had eight stolen bases and scored a team-high 21 runs. Peterson batted .288 and topped the team with 21 RBIs and five home runs. Moses hit .289.
The top returning players in 2009 figure to be Chad Balderman, Will Keel, Tyler Martin and Matt Radford.
Balderman, Martin and Radford should form the nucleus of a solid pitching staff. Balderman went 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA this season and has 73 strikeouts in 53 innings of work. Martin was not overpowering, but finished with a 5-2 record and an impressive 1.91 ERA. Radford was 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in limited varsity title (18.2 innings).
Offensively, Balderman hit .391 with 14 runs, 16 RBIs and nine steals. Keel batted .299 with 18 runs, 14 RBIs and three home runs. Martin hit .341 with 12 runs and 11 RBIs. Radford batted .313 in 32 varsity at bats.
The Silver Foxes and Richland Northeast are the only holdovers in the new-look Region 5-4A, which debuts next spring with newcomers White Knoll, Lexington, Irmo, North Augusta, Aiken and Orangeburg-Wilkinson.