the best-of-three Class AA state finals later this week.

Hanahan didn't take the easy path to the state championship series.

The Bishops, the defending Class AA state champions, beat the Hawks, 10-5, earlier in the week and needed just one win on Friday night to earn a shot at back-to-back titles.

Hanahan beat Cheraw, 15-4, on Wednesday to advance to Friday night's Lower State finals.

"We haven't had much luck against Bishop England over the years," said Hanahan coach Brian Mitchell. "There have been times in the past when we were really beaten before we stepped on the field. I think the kids truly believed that they could get the job done this year.

"We did it as a team. Bryce and Brett both had gutsy performances, but for the most part we played good fundamental baseball all day and that was the difference for us. We made the plays behind them in the field and we got some very timely hitting in both games."

Sophomore Brett Hines started the day by giving up just four hits and striking out four batters in the Hawks' 3-2 win in Game 1.

"Brett came up huge for us," said older brother Bryce. "He gave us exactly what we needed from him. I thought he threw a perfect game."

Brett also added three hits, including a clutch run-scoring single in the first game that gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning.

"You've got to have those kind of timely hits to beat a team as good as Bishop England," Mitchell said. "Brett had a couple of clutch hits in that first game, but he wasn't the only one."

In the clinching game, the elder Hines dominated the Bishop at the plate. Bryce Hines limited the Bishops to just three hits, while striking out 13 batters.

"I didn't pitch well against (Bishops) on Monday, so I wanted another crack at them," said Hines, who has signed to play baseball for The Citadel next season.

"There's not a better feeling in the world than beating them twice on their own field to get to the state finals. It took a couple of innings, but I was finally able to throw my curveball for strikes and that was the key for me. I felt good out there."

The Bishops were hoping to use staff ace Jimmy Lindberg in the second game, but the junior was suffering from a stiff shoulder and the Bishops started senior Luke Navarro instead. Lindberg, who did play first base in both games, was the winning pitcher against the Hawks on Monday night.

"We tried to loosen Jimmy up between games, but he just couldn't go for us," said Bishop England coach Bill Collier said. "He's got the summer season ahead of him and I didn't want to risk an injury. I thought Luke threw well and gave us a chance to win."

Brett Hines, Ryan Manore and John Piggott each had run-scoring singles to key a three-run second inning in Game 2.

The Bishops got a run in the first inning off an RBI double by Alex Abrams. Abrams would score again in the third inning to make it a 3-2 game, but that would be as close as the Bishops would get as Bryce Hines retired 14 of the final 18 batters he faced.

"We got guys on base, but we never were able to get that clutch hit when we needed it most," Collier said. "You've got to tip your hat to Hanahan, they got the outs and made the plays in the field when they needed to."