BEHS baseball team ranked in top 25 of national poll
Bishop England baseball coach Mike Darnell is a busy man. He’s focused on what happens on the field, between the lines, as his team aims to repeat as the Class AAA state champs.
Darnell is so focused that he had “no idea” that his team showed up in the latest MaxPreps computer poll of the top 25 high school teams in the country.
“(I had) no clue about the No. 25,” said Darnell, whose team entered this week’s Hanahan Invitational Tournament with a 12-0 record. “I went and looked and saw it is the computer top 25. Since we have not lost and those early season wins were against top ranked teams…I guess the computer likes that. We have a huge three weeks before playoffs begin. We have HIT (this week) and next week, we have two big games vs. Hanahan with an away game vs. Berkeley in between.”
The week after that, the Bishops have two more region 7-AAA games in addition to games against James Island and Ashley Ridge.
Monteverde (Fla.) Academy is number one in the MaxPreps computer poll, which is dominated by teams from the Southeast, Texas and California.
The Bishops, however, aren’t ranked in the MaxPreps human poll. So maybe there’s some truth to Darnell’s statement that the computers love the Bishops’ numbers.
The Bishops’ team batting average is .348. Their slugging percentage is only .398, but the Bishops squeeze out runs with bunts, opposite-field hits, hit-and-runs and stolen bases. The Bishops average a sacrifice bunt per game and more than five stolen bases.
The pitching is even more impressive as the Bishops’ hurlers have combined for an 0.64 team ERA.
Last May, the Bishops captured their first state title since 2011. Darnell knew the expectations for this spring would be almost off the charts. However, the team has handled the pressure -- as well as opponents -- from the first pitch of the season.
Because of last year’s success and this year’s projections, the Bishops were invited to participate in the prestigious International Paper Baseball Classic, which was contested in Georgetown, to begin the season. The Bishops lived up to the hype, winning the championship.
Leo Albano, all-state in three sports, and Chris Dengler both have .458 batting averages to lead the team. Albano, who had a major role in last year’s state title, is undecided about college, but expect him to play either football or baseball at the next level. Dengler also leads the Bishops with 12 RBI.
Will Bastian, the starting catcher, is batting .267 and leads the team with four doubles. He will play for The Citadel.
Gregory Sanders is having an excellent spring with a .394 batting average.
Geoffrey Gilbert, a junior pitcher who has committed to play for Clemson, is batting .364.
The ranking is a positive reflection of the program, but Darnell is close to the vest.
“If we are ranked in the top 25 when the season is over, then we can get excited about it. Right now we have a ton of work ahead of us.”