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Bishop England High School
Daniel Island

Bishop England to host Lower State baseball finals

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Daniel IslandBishop England baseball is synonymous with consistency. The Bishops are 21-8 overall and have already captured a region and district title this spring.

Now they sit in a familiar position. For the 12th time in the last 13 seasons, Bishop England will play for a Lower State championship. They host Aynor on May 10 needing just one victory in two games to advance to the state finals.

“Early on, we didn’t handle losing very well, which is the mark of a young team,” head coach Mike Darnell said. “We’ve come back from that, but we thought we were better than we actually were. That will never happen again. The coaching staff blasted them a bunch and we’ve played harder and the guys have bought in. Failure makes you humble and that’s been the best thing for our team.”

Pitching has carried the Bishops all year. As a staff, they have a 1.74 earned run average. Shawn Runey has been the team’s top starter, posting a 3-1 record with a 1.77 ERA.

“We thought he might be a starter or that he would throw every day. He’s got a rubber arm. He’ll throw 100 pitches and be long-tossing the next day. I think he’s the biggest surprise from when he got here to where he is today. He’ll have a chance to pitch in college,” Darnell said.

Greg Sanders is currently No. 2 in the rotation with a 2-0 record and a 1.03 ERA. Leo Albano (3-2, 1.39 ERA) began the year as a starter but is now the top relief pitcher, and Matthew McManus (3-1, 0.98 ERA) and Geoffrey Gilbert (1.63 ERA, 76 strikeouts in 38.2 innings) are other options.

At the plate, Albano, who plays centerfield, is hitting a robust .390 with 29 runs scored, 20 runs batted in and 15 stolen bases. Gilbert, a Clemson verbal commit, is at .329 with a home run, 15 RBI and 10 stolen bases at first base.

Chris Dengler has just gotten back on the infield after spending most of the season as the designated hitter due to an arm injury. He has collected a .320 average with eight doubles, 20 runs, 18 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Shortstop Corey Cochran is also having a strong season (.333, 16 runs, 10 RBI).

With Runey the lone senior who has gotten a lot of playing time, Bishop England seems primed to contend for titles for the next several years.

“We’re a lot of juniors and some sophomores. We’ve got a good problem that’s getting ready to happen next year because we’ve got a couple of freshmen that are pretty good, too. Right now, there’s a good talent pool that we’re dealing with,” Darnell said. “We knew that coming into the year but we didn’t play very well. We played a good schedule so that when we get to these games, it’s nothing we haven’t already seen. We’re excited about the future and it looks like we’re about to get on a pretty good roll.”

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