BE, Summerville bid for state titles

Wade Spees/Staff Patrick Clarey and Bishop England's pitching staff have combined for a 0.33 ERA in six playoff games this season.

Wade Spees

The High School League’s softball and baseball State Championship Series begins today, and two local teams are in the hunt for state titles.

The Summerville softball team is making only its second appearance in the series, while the Bishop England baseball team is seeking to continue its trend of winning state titles every other year.

Summerville will host Boiling Springs at 6 p.m. in Class AAAA softball. The Green Wave advanced with a 4-2 victory over Bluffton.

Summerville’s only other appearance in the series came in 2010, when the Green Wave lost to Mauldin.

Boiling Springs, which finished the regular season as the state’s top-ranked team, is no stranger to Summerville. The Bulldogs traveled to Flowertown during the regular season and won the Azalea Invitational Tournament.

While Boiling Springs is No. 1, Summerville (23-7) didn’t finish in the final top-10 poll. But the Green Wave beat No. 2 Wando in the playoffs and is playing its best ball of the season.

“We started off this season well, but then we had a little rough patch, so I’m just proud of the way our kids kind of turned things around, and of the way they have played in the playoffs,” Summerville coach Heather Tucker said after her team won the Lower State championship.

Meanwhile, Chesnee and Bishop England are no strangers. The two schools played in the 2009 Class AA State Championship Series.

The Bishops swept Chesnee in two games to continue its trend of winning the state championship every other season, dating back to 2003. BE has won state titles in the odd calendar years in ’03, ’05, ’07, ’09 and ’11.

The Bishops are 22-4 under coach Mike Darnell and advanced by beating Loris, 2-1, Friday night. The Bishops have struggled at the plate in the postseason, but have received outstanding pitching from the duo of Tradd Lowman and Patrick Clarey. The Bishops have allowed only four runs in six playoff games and have a team ERA of 0.33 during the stretch.

Darnell said he was worried about the long bus ride today for the 6 p.m. game, but the Bishops made the same trip for Game 1 four years ago and posted a 3-1 victory.

Chesnee advanced with a 6-0 victory over Chesterfield. The Eagles have won three Upper State titles in five years.

Chesnee lost to the Bishops in the ‘09 series, but won the ‘10 state title over Hanahan.

Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @PandCPhil