Despite success, Bishop England freshman determined to improve

Bishop England freshman Elizabeth Works pitched a two-hitter, a no-hitter and a perfect game at the Azalea Invitational.

She's a freshman, a work in progress if you will. But her results this spring have been impressive by any measure.

Bishop England softball player Elizabeth Works is having a solid year at the plate and on the mound.

She had what would have been a great season last week when the Bishops participated in the grueling Azalea Invitational Tournament. She batted .400 in seven games, but she was most impressive on the mound. She pitched a two-hitter against Buford, a no-hitter against Laurens and a perfect game against West Ashley in the elimination stage of AIT. The no-hitter against Buford would have been a perfect game if not for the leadoff walk she allowed in the first inning.

"I used to dream about having a stretch like that," said Bishop England coach Mark Pender, whose team owns a 26-12 record. "She was built to be a pitcher because she's got those long limbs. She's got long arms and long legs. She takes lessons. If she continues to progress, by the time she's a senior, she will have the opportunity to play at the next level."

Works didn't know she had a perfect game until one of her teammates informed her of the feat after the game.

"My team was solid in the field, so it just wasn't my pitching. As a freshman, my goal is to do the best I can, win some games and have some fun."

She's achieved that mission, but the right-hander will be the first to admit her game can improve.

"I'm working on different pitches," said Works, who was a member of the varsity basketball team this winter. "I throw the fastball and change-up consistently, but my drop, riser and screwball aren't very accurate. They are getting there, but they're not there yet. As far as hitting, batting from the right side hasn't been so great this year."

Said Pender: "Defensively, she's still learning. She's a freshman and, like everyone else, it's been a learning experience. But she's caught on quickly."

She was 7 years old when she started playing baseball in the Mount Pleasant Recreation League, "but they made me switch (to softball) after a while."

She joined the varsity team as the most promising freshman since Leslie Runey arrived on the scene back in time for the 2004 season. The comparisons were inevitable since both players played second base. But Runey left her mark her freshman season by helping the Bishops win their only state championship.

"Elizabeth has been asked to fill some big shoes by replacing Leslie Runey," Pender said. Coming in as a freshman, she's been asked to do a lot, at the plate and on the mound. We needed a shot in the arm this season, and she came at the right time."

The Bishops and Hanahan are battling it out for the Region 6-AA title. Hanahan won the first game between the schools and the Bishops are waiting for a rematch on April 11. The teams have split the two games the past two years, forcing a one-game playoff.

The Bishops started the season slowly, despite getting good pitching and defense. The team traveled to Florida and lost a pair of games, but righted itself with a 5-1 victory over Andrews on March 14. The following day, Bishop England posted a 5-1 victory over South Florence that ended the two-time defending Class AAAA state champs' 75-game winning streak.

"I want to go to at least the Lower State championship or even the state championship," Works said. "I just want to win."