Hawks and Bishops advance in baseball playoffs
The Hanahan Hawks baseball team won the Class AAA District 6 championship Monday night. And, the Hawks did it the hard way.
Coach Brian Mitchell and crew traveled to Pawleys Island needing two victories over the Warriors to remain alive. The Hawks won the first game 11-5 and then used drama to pull out a 4-2 victory in the deciding game of the district play. The Hawks, 22-6, will host Bishop England in the opening round of the Lower State Championship series. Gilbert will play Strom Thurmond in the other game.
Michael Rusciolelli provided the drama in the bottom of the seventh inning. The bases were loaded with two outs when a Waccamaw batter hit a ball into the hole. Rusciolelli made a diving stop, fielded the ball and threw to second while on his knees to get the force out.
“Ninety-five percent of the time, that’s a hit,” said Mitchell, whose team lost to Waccamaw 1-0 in the first round of district play. “I thought it was going to be a hit. I thought Waccamaw would get at least one run. But Michael made an incredible play.”
Sam Zeron also provided some drama on the mound for the Hawks in the bottom of the seventh. Zeron, who did not pitch an inning for the varsity team until Monday night, came in in relief and recorded a strikeout with two runners on. He proceeded to hit a batter with a pitch to lead the bases, but Rusciolelli saved the day with his brilliant play.
Bishop England, meanwhile, won the District 7 championship with a 12-2 decision over Swansea. It marked the first time in the playoffs that a team managed a run against the Bishops, who improved to 26-1 on the season. Geoffrey Gilbert led the way with a pair of home runs, including a grand slam to support winning pitcher Ryan Gaffney.
The Bishops’ only loss of the season was to the Hawks. Two of the three games the schools have played this season have gone to extra innings.
The Bishop England boys’ soccer team won its seventh consecutive match with a 6-2 victory over Battery Creek Monday night in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs. The Bishops upped their record to 19-2.
The girls’ soccer team blanked Battery Creek 9-0 in the first round of the playoffs. The Bishops upped their record to 12-2-1 and will host Gilbert on Wednesday.
In softball, Hanahan is in the drivers’ seat of the District playoffs. The Hawks won the opening game of the tournament with a 16-0 decision over Bluffton and followed it up with a 4-0 victory over Dillon. The Hawks need one victory on Wednesday to win the district title.
Bishop England will play Georgetown on Wednesday in the first round of the Class AAA boys’ tennis playoffs. Hanahan will play Waccamaw in the second round after defeating Battery Creek in the first round.