The Bishop England baseball team is ranked No. 1 in the state coaches' preseason poll, and that's news to Bishops coach Mike Darnell.
The affable coach said he almost fell out his chair when he learned of the lofty ranking.
"It is all based on last year," Darnell said. "We return zero innings on the mound from last year. We have four seniors and four juniors returning in the program. We are going to be very young this year and hopefully with a strong non-conference schedule we can get better against some good competition. We are going to need to pitch and catch beyond our experience in order to have a successful year."
Still, it's Bishop England and there is talent. The top returners include four seniors: Harrison Boals, Griffin Herbert, Reed Fosberry and Chandler Sambets.
Boals batted .372 last spring with 19 RBIs while Herbert batted .300.
Fosberry also shone on the football field and basketball court. Sambets also played football and is in the hunt for an individual state wrestling title and won't join the team until March.
Juniors Ryan McManus, Jackson Riley and Johnny Wood could offer promise on the mound. Another junior, Jonathan Browning, will patrol center field.
The Bishops reached the Class AA state championship series last spring, but lost in three games to Chesnee. It ended the Bishops' run of winning state titles in the odd calendars years, dating back to 2003.
Sumter is No. 1 in Class AAAA. West Ashley checks in at No. 6 and Summerville is eighth.
A.C. Flora is No. 1 in Class AAA. Berkeley is No. 8 and James Island is right behind at No. 9.
Matthews heads Hall
Former Stall football coach and athletic director Ronnie Matthews will be one of five people to be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Administrators' Association Hall of Fame on March 16 in Charleston.
Matthews began his coaching career at Stall in 1968 and was promoted to athletic director and head coach four years later.
He also served as the assistant athletic director of the South Carolina High School League from 1984-1998 and was Executive Director from 1998-2005.
The other inductees include Mike Barnes, Phil Clark, Mandy Lance and Debbie Smith.
Barnes was in the Easley Schools District for more than 30 years and served as athletic director at Easley High from 1996-2009,
Clark was at Greer for 27 years, serving as AD, assistant principal and head coach of the football, basketball and baseball teams.
Lance helped the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association.
Smith is one of the few women in the state to serve as athletic director at two schools: Hillcrest-Dazell and Mayewood.
The Faith Christian boys basketball team had a very successful regular season, posting a 16-3 record, including 9-1 in the region, which was good for a share of the title. Faith Christian finished runner-up in the region tournament.
The team received a first-round bye and will begin SCISA Class A state tournament play on Tuesday.
Theron Reddy, a senior point guard, was the region player of the year. He averaged 19 points a game. Caleb Rogers, who averaged 16 points a game, also was all-region while Austin Pfoff and Jonathan Feagin received honorable mention.
Marvin Walker was coach of the year.
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