Bishops rout Raptors to earn Lower State berth

Bishop England baseball coach Mike Darnell had a feeling it was going to be one of those nights.

After beating Academic Magnet by 12 runs last Saturday in the second round of the Class AA District VI playoffs, and after a lackluster practice on Tuesday, Darnell felt like his team might not be as focused as they needed to be Wednesday against the Raptors.

Darnell's intuition proved correct as the Bishops dropped the first game Wednesday night to the Raptors, 15-10.

The Bishops responded with a much better effort in second game, beating Academic Magnet by 16-0 at Father Kelly Field and capturing the Class AA District VI title.

The Bishops will take on the winner of the Barnwell-Wade Hampton game in the Class AA Lower State tourmanent.

The Raptors forced a second game by beating the Bishops, 15-10, in a sloppy first game that saw the two teams combine for 27 hits, 14 walks, eight errors and four hit batters. Connor Woods and Reaves Wannamaker each drove in two runs for the Raptors in the victory.

"If you disrespect the game it will come up and bite you in the behind," Darnell said. "We beat Academic Magnet pretty good over the weekend and didn't come to the field with the kind of focus we needed in the first game. All credit goes to Academic Magnet. They did everything they needed to do to beat us."

In the second game, Bishop England pounded out 17 hits and pitcher Gunnar Finneseth gave up just three hits in five innings as the Bishops cruised to the victory.

The Bishops recorded 28 hits in the two games that combined to last more than five hours.

"Gunnar threw strikes and we've been swinging the bats pretty well here lately," Darnell said.

Edward Bolchoz led the Bishops in the second game, collecting five hits and driving in four runs for the Bishops.

"I'm happy we won, but we've got to play better if we want to advance any further in the playoffs," Darnell said.