The Hanahan Invitational Tournament, one of the top high school baseball tournaments east of the Mississippi, will begin its 44th year of action with opening day set for Monday.
Hanahan coach Brian Mitchell, who serves as the tournament director, said 32 schools were entered this year, but three had to drop out when school officials learned that state laws prohibited out-of-state trips on all but chartered buses. Several teams from Georgia and Florida were unable to play in this year's tourney because their spring breaks were earlier in the month.
Still, the teams entered offer plenty of talent.
South Carolina teams competing are Hanahan, West Ashley, Bishop England, Goose Creek, Wando, Stratford, Berkeley, Beaufort, James Island, Ashley Ridge, First Baptist, Pinewood Prep, Cane Bay, Summerville, Woodland and Travelers Rest.
Kentucky and Illinois have three teams in the field, while Virginia has four. Schools from the Bluegrass State that will travel to the Lowcountry include Marshall County, South Laurel and North Laurel. Three schools from the Chicago area will compete — Reavis, Marist and St. Rita. The Virginia entries include Kellan, Grassfield, Bishop Ireton and Cox.
Ohio teams Avon and Bay, along with Starrs Mill, Ga., round out the field.
Games will be played at seven area schools: Hanahan, Wando, Berkeley, Ashley Ridge, James Island, West Ashley and Bishop England. The championship game is scheduled for April 5.
Summerville will host the Azalea Invitational Tournament, one of the top softball tournaments in the Palmetto State. Sixteen teams will compete Monday and Tuesday at Gahagan Park in Summerville.
Teams in Pool A include Colleton County, Stratford, Blue Ridge and Dorman. Teams in Pool B include Goose Creek, Clover, Chapin and Boiling Springs.
Pool C includes Cross, Beaufort, Travelers Rest and Blythewood.
Pool D includes Summerville, Woodruff, Wade Hampton and Bay High of Ohio.
Each team will play in three pool games on Monday and then will be seeded for Tuesday's action. The No. 1 seeds will play in the Gold bracket, while the No. 2 seeds will play in the Silver bracket. No. 3 seeds will play in the Bronze bracket, and the No. 4 seeds will play in the White bracket.
Pinewood equestrians claimed the state runner-up title in the Western Division of the recent SCISA equestrian state championships. Ali Clynes Schmieding placed second in both the horsemanship and reining.
Her sister, Aurie Engel Schmieding, had a second-place finish in varsity open reining.
Wando pitcher Danica Newton pitched a no-hitter in a 7-0 softball victory over West Ashley. She also set a school record with her 402nd career strikeout. Wando is 10-2, including 3-0 in Region 7-AAAA.
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @PandCPhil.
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