Bishop England and Hanahan seem to bring out the best in each other and sometimes the worst.
Matt Jones singled and drove in Taylor Oden in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead Bishop England past Hanahan, 6-5, Monday before a standing-room-only crowd at Father Kelly Field in the Class AA Lower State semifinals.
The Hawks (20-9) will take on Dillon Wednesday night at home in an elimination game. The winner of that game will face the Bishops (19-10) on Friday night in the Lower State finals.
The intensity of the rivalry between the two schools was evident from the outset as the two teams combined for 11 runs, 24 hits and six errors.
With the score tied at 5-5 in extra innings, the Bishops loaded the bases. Oden reached on passed ball after striking out and Tradd Lowman singled to left. The Hawks intentionally walked Cameron Garrett to load the bases with one out.
Jones, who earned National Merit Scholarship to Oklahoma, admitted he was a little nervous heading to the plate with the game on the line.
“The nerves are always there, but I was just wanted to make good contact,” Jones said. “Honestly, I was thinking fly ball, but things worked out.”
Jones got a fastball from Hanahan relief pitcher Ryan Manor that he hit hard to a pulled in Nick Zerbst at second base. The ball squirted past Zerbst as Oden raced home to win the game.
“It couldn’t have happened to a better guy,” said Bishop England coach Mike Darnell. “I don’t know what to say. I got to give it to our guys, we battled all night and found a way to win.”
The first two innings brought the worst in both teams. The Hawks took advantage of four Bishop England errors and a couple more mental errors on routine bunt plays to grab a 4-1 lead. But the Hawks had their own share of miscues as the Bishops got two runs back — both of them unearned — in the bottom of the second to close the gap to 4-3.
“We’ve started to play better the last couple of weeks,” Darnell said. “We’ve pitched pretty well all season, but lately we’ve started to hit the ball better.”
Hanahan 041 000 00—5 3 1 Bishop England 121 001 01—6 11 5
WP: Shawn Singletary LP: Ryan Manor