Battling Bishops' varsity baseball team captures HIT championship
The Bishop England High School baseball team is undefeated and has championship trophies from two prestigious tournaments so far this season. The latest came in the 49th annual Hanahan Invitational Tournament when the Bishops topped rival Wando 7-3 on April 5 to claim the Hatfield Division championship.
Coach Mike Darnell admits he is concerned about his squad peaking too early. But that’s not all he worries about.
“I am concerned about all kinds of things when it comes to baseball,” said Darnell, whose team is 14-0. “We have a brutal two weeks before the playoffs start. That is our No.1 concern right now.”
“I am not sure we have played our best baseball yet,” Darnell added. “We are still making mistakes and didn’t pitch as well as we hoped to over the last few games. We have some guys playing really well and some who could play better. The season is so short it doesn’t seem like that long ago when we started off in Georgetown.”
Georgetown is where the Bishops started the season and captured their first title, the International Paper Baseball Classic. The Bishops added to their trophy haul over spring break by claiming the HIT. The team won four games in four days to claim the Hatfield Division championship.
The Bishops outscored their foes 35-13 in the four games, giving up nine of those runs in an opening round 14-9 victory over Shaker Heights, which is located in suburban Cleveland.
The Bishops followed that with a 6-1 victory over Ocean Lakes, Va. The Bishops blanked West Ashley 8-0 to reach the championship against Wando.
Geoffrey Gilbert and Leo Albano combined for a no-hitter against Ocean Lakes. But it was far from perfect.
“I don’t know if anyone realized it until the game was over,” Darnell said. “We walked six guys, four were leadoff walks, so it didn’t seem like a no-hitter with all of the baserunners.”
Darnell was pleased with his team’s focus.
“Most of that comes from the energy we have from our dugout,” Darnell said. “Being on spring break made it more difficult, but by Tuesday we had a pretty good plan in place to keep the guys active throughout the day.”
Junior outfielder Matt Lobeck, who had a two-run double to ignite the Bishops’ effort against Wando, was named the Hatfield Division MVP.
The Bishops are attempting to repeat as Class AAA state champs, but that was the least of Darnell’s concerns as his team headed into this week’s play.
Weather permitting, the Bishops were scheduled to play Hanahan two times this week, games that will decided the Region 7-AAA championship. The Bishops were also scheduled to play Berkeley.
Host school Hanahan was runner-up in the Steadman Division. Coach Brian Mitchell’s squad came up short in the title game as Ashley Ridge posted a 7-3 victory.
The Hawks topped Hickory Grove Christian, Lakewood St. Edward and James Island to reach the championship. The Hawks were 14-2 heading into this week’s play.