Katrina Moffett’s first year as head coach of the Hanahan softball team is turning out to be a memorable one.
The Hawks are 20-4 and a victory away from playing in the Class AA state championship series. The Hawks have already advanced to the Lower State championship and will host the winner of today’s Andrews vs. Dillon game. The winner of that game will travel to Hanahan on Friday and would have to beat the Hawks twice to keep them from advancing.
Moffett, who was an assistant coach at West Ashley last year, replaced Chris Pope, a Michigan native who returned home to coach and teach. He led the Hawks to the state title in 2008.
Winning a crown this season is a definite possibility, Moffett said. She is pleased with the team’s effort and confidence level.
That confidence level was boosted in district play when Hanahan committed seven errors and fell behind Waccamaw 8-0. But the Hawks showed mettle and came back to post an 11-10 victory. They beat Waccamaw in the district championship and are 2-0 in Lower State play.
“We didn’t put our heads down when we had that big deficit against Waccamaw,” Moffett said. “Our defense was spotty. We usually play solid defense and that really helps the pitchers. We have to back our pitchers.”
Megan Wright and Lauren Kilgore split time on the mound. Both players have been solid all year. The team’s top hitters are first baseman Alli Adams, shortstop Ashley Cox and outfielder Courtney Murdaugh.
Moffett’s coaching style is somewhat different than Pope’s. But the biggest difference is in the offseason.
“We lifted and conditioned in the offseason,” Moffett said. “They didn’t do that in past years because Chris coached basketball. I think that offseason work is helping us now.”
The Bishop England boys track and field team has always been a force. The Bishops have won numerous state titles, including the 2009 Class AA crown.
But this year’s team might be the best the school has ever produced. Some observers feel the Bishops are the best Class AA team in the last 20 years.
Coach Tony Colizzi acknowledged this year’s group is special. But he knows the Bishops will have a tough fight from Region 6-AA foes Hanahan and Woodland during Saturday’s state championships at Spring Valley. Eau Claire should also contend for the title.
The Bishops are having a big year with state titles in football, volleyball, girls basketball, girls tennis and boys cross country already in the books. The Bishops are in contention for another half dozen as the spring season winds down.
“When one team wins a state title, it fuels the other teams,” Colizzi said. “The feeling is you don’t want to be on the team that doesn’t win the state championship.”
The Bishops always have good distance runners, and this year is no exception with Gabe Theising and Nathan Leach leading the way. But this spring, the Bishops have one of the best sprinters in the state in DeAngelo Henderson. He played on the football team that won a state title and should score in all three sprints Saturday. Griffie Loy should contend in the shot and discus, while Parkwood Griffith was second in the pole vault at last week’s Lower State championship.
“This is a pretty tight-knit group,” Colizzi said. “It’s just a matter of doing what you are capable of doing. This is one of our more balanced teams.”
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil