Rite of spring: Bishop England having success on the diamond

Pitcher Ryan Maksim and Bishop England can earn a berth in the Class AA Lower State Championship Series with a win today over Andrews.

The Bishop England baseball team is a victory away from what is becoming a rite of spring: playing in the Lower State Championship Series.

The last time the Bishops weren't in the championship series was 2004, when they went 17-7 and were knocked out of the playoffs at the district level.

This year, the Bishops (16-10) have struggled at times heading into today's District 7 playoff game against Andrews. Andrews will need to beat Bishop England twice today at Father Kelly Field to keep the Bishops from reaching the Lower State Championship Series.

The Bishops are the defending Class AA state champs and have won five state crowns in the last nine years. But the team was hit with some key graduation losses, including pitcher/first baseman Jimmy Lindberg.

“We knew coming into this season that we would be playing the underdog role.” Bishop England coach Mike Darnell said. “There are some really good teams in (Class) AA this season. We played both Hanahan and Gilbert two times each. They are considered the top two teams. We beat Gilbert once, but we were facing one of their bottom pitchers. I think since we have not had a ton of success as far as wins go, it has made our players realize we can't stop working to get better.”

While the Bishops have history, Ashley Ridge is looking to make history.

The Swamp Foxes are 25-1 this spring and need a victory over Goose Creek to win their first district title in the school's brief four-year history.

The Swamp Foxes have a good nucleus of talent: Lorenzo Wright and Bryan Dye have signed with the College of Charleston, while Austin Livingston signed with The Citadel and Nick Bell with Coastal Carolina.

Hanahan is seeking its second trip to the Class AA state championship game in three years. The Hawks are at home today and need a victory over Waccamaw to advance.

The Hawks are No. 2 in the latest state poll behind Palmetto. The Hawks have 12 players on the roster and 11 are seniors, so experience could be a factor. The only non-senior on the roster is middle infielder Seth Lancaster. The sophomore has already committed to the University of South Carolina.

Palmetto Christian Academy running back Isaac German signed to play football at the University of Pikeville in Kentucky.

German led the Eagles with more than 1,500 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns his senior season.

The University of Pikeville competes in the Mid-South Conference as a Division I member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in Region XI.

German also played for PCA's Class A state championship basketball team.

Stratford basketball player Tiffany Addison signed to play for the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

She averaged 16.3 points and 3.7 steals per game her senior season. She also is a member of the National Honor Society.

Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil. Reach him at 937-5592.