King Walker helped build the baseball field and press box at First Baptist's athletic complex on James Island.

Now he's helping build the Hurricanes' baseball reputation.

The defending SCISA Class AA state champions are 17-7 in Walker's first year as the varsity coach after sweeping Colleton Prep in the first round of the playoffs Monday night to reach Friday's second round.

"I think we're actually doing pretty good," Walker said. "We lost our No. 1 starter and eight seniors, but this year's group of juniors and seniors have picked it up."

Clayton Smith was the No. 1 starter until labrum surgery sidelined him for the season.

"Colleges still want him," Walker said. "That should tell you something about him."

Four of last year's seniors accounted for 32 of the team's 37 homers with All-Lowcountry selection Ryan Walker leading the way with 11. The team might not have the power it did last spring, but the team is batting .336 with an on-base percentage of .510.

Ryan Walker is King's son, and there is another member of the family tree producing on the baseball diamond. Junior Larson Walker, who plays first base and pitches, leads the team with a .432 batting average and 27 RBIs. He also leads the team with a 5-1 record with a 2.20 ERA. Senior second baseman J.D. Collins is batting .414 with 20 RBIs. Junior shortstop Lawton Hendricks is batting .363 with 20 RBIs, while Marlin Morris is productive as a hitter and pitcher.

The junior is hitting .328 and is the pitching staff's go-to-guy, according to Walker. Morris is 4-3 and has allowed only 29 hits in 40 2/3 innings while striking out 48. Michael Bocklet, Kevin Collins and Ryan Padgett also have recorded quality innings.

Walker, who founded the Charleston Braves travel teams in 2001, was the junior varsity coach before being named the varsity coach in August.

"I enjoy it," he said. "I've known these kids for a while and put my hat in the ring when the job opened up. I knew the kids, the administration, so I knew it would be a good fit."

Cribb to Bluffton

Fort Dorchester assistant Ken Cribb is the new football coach at Bluffton.

The hiring was announced Monday after a month-long search to replace Jeremy West, who was named coach at South Aiken earlier this year.

Cribb spent 2009 as an assistant on Steve LaPrad's staff. Prior to that, he was head coach at Stall for two years, compiling an 8-14 record.

Bluffton hired West in 2007 when Cribb was a finalist for the Bluffton job. The Warriors beat Bluffton soundly both years that Cribb was at the helm.

Prior to his time at Stall, Cribb was 26-42 in six years at South Florence.

Bluffton hasn't reached the playoffs in three years, compiling a 9-21 record. It's a similar rebuilding job Cribb faced when he took over the Georgetown program in 2001. The Bulldogs went 1-9 in his first year, and showed progress the next two seasons, posting marks of 5-6 and 7-4.

SCAC induction

Six people will be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on July 25 in Greenville.

The inductees include Lon Armstrong, Cliff Crosland, Tommy Davis, Susan Dean, Jim Ringer and Barbara Tyler.

Armstrong will be honored posthumously. He was athletic director, football coach and track coach at Prosperity for three decades.

Crosland was athletic director, baseball coach and basketball coach at Marlboro County from 1960-89.

Davis was athletic director and football coach at Ware Shoals and Palmetto for a combined 30 years.

Dean coached tennis at Spartanburg from 1972-2005.

Ringer was athletic director and football coach at Rock Hill, Columbia and Conway for a combined 28 years.

Tyler was volleyball coach at Andrew Jackson from 1974-2000. She also served as basketball coach.

Reach Philip M. Bowman at pbowman@postandcourier.com or at 937-5592.