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Bishop England edges Hanahan in extra innings, forces tie atop region standings

HANAHANBishop England entered the week undefeated with a pair of tournament titles to their credit.  However, after a 3-0 loss in eight innings to region rival Hanahan on Tuesday, the Bishops faced a must-win situation in order to remain in the hunt for the Region 7-AAA championship.

Once again, it took extra innings to determine a winner Friday night.  Bishop England plated a pair of runs in the top of the eighth to claim a 3-1 victory and force a deadlock atop the standings.  The teams also played a tiebreaker game last season.

“I didn’t think we played very well, and I think (Hanahan head coach) Brian (Mitchell) would say the same thing about his team,” said Bishop England head coach Mike Darnell.  “I was glad to scratch out a win when we really played poorly offensively.  Sometimes kids nowadays lose confidence really quickly.  They’re good players and they need to play like they’re good players.”

It was a pitchers’ duel for most of the night, with Bishop England’s Geoffrey Gilbert earning the win.  The junior Clemson commit tossed seven innings and allowed one run on two hits while recording 14 strikeouts and two walks.

“He’s been that way all year.  His maturity from last year to this year is unbelievable.  He’s come a long way,” Darnell said.

Trey Pooser took the hard-luck loss for the Hawks, going 7.1 innings while giving up three runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

Tied at 1-1, Corey Cochran led off the top of the eighth inning for the Bishops with a single to left field before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by John ReganLeo Albano then followed with a bunt single down the third base line that chased Pooser.

Luke Litwin came on in relief and got Jacob Moore to hit a sharp ground ball to second base that was misplayed, allowing Cochran to score the go-ahead run and Albano to advance all the way to third. 

Albano added an insurance run with some nifty baserunning.  Greg Sanders hit a pop up to the outfield grass behind shortstop, where Michael Rusciolelli hauled it in for the out.  Rusciolelli slipped after the catch and momentarily fell to the ground, and Albano raced home for the 3-1 advantage.

Later in the inning, Gilbert lined a potential RBI single up the middle, but centerfielder Jalen Gibbs threw out Moore trying to score from second base.

“It’s a different game if it’s 2-1.  The kid slipped and we had our fastest, most aggressive runner on third, and he took off,” Darnell said.

Albano replaced Gilbert in the bottom of the eighth and promptly struck out pinch-hitter Brick Nichols.  Gibbs reached on an error to bring the tying run to the plate, but Albano struck out Laith Williams and got Cooper Dawson to ground out back to the mound to record the save.

Hanahan got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning.  Brooks Cribb picked up a one-out single and went to second on a passed ball.  Charlie Toman’s infield single put runners on the corners, and Gilbert was close to getting out of the jam after striking out Randy Scott

Mitchell signaled for a double steal, and Cribb plated the game’s first run when catcher Will Bastian’s throw down to second base was low.

Cochran was the spark in the top of the third inning for Bishop England.  Batting in the No. 8 spot in the order, he reached on a one-out infield single.  An errant pickoff throw sent him all the way to third base before he tied the score on a safety squeeze by Ryan Gaffney.

“He’s not going to be at the bottom of the lineup anymore,” Darnell said of Cochran.  “He puts the bat on the ball, and in high school baseball that can do a lot of good things.  If you hit the ball hard, good things happen.  He battles at the plate, he can bunt and he runs pretty well.”

The Hawks had a chance to retake the lead in the bottom half of the frame, but couldn’t get the clutch hit they needed.  Gilbert walked Gibbs, plunked Williams and issued another free pass to Jonathan Barham with two outs, but Cribb hit into a fielder’s choice to shortstop to end the threat.

 

SCORING SUMMARY

Bishop England   001   000   02—3   5   1

Hanahan Hawks 010   000   00—1   2   3


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