Bluffton High School softball jumped to No. 2 this week in the latest South Carolina coaches' rankings.
The Bobcats are 9-0 overall and 6-0 in Region 7-AAA after Thursday's win at Battery Creek. They defeated Cane Bay 4-2 on Monday and won 3-0 Wednesday at Berkeley.
Bluffton trails only top-ranked Hartsville in the rankings. Bluffton travels to Florida today for a tournament before a long layoff for spring break.
To begin this week, pitcher Courtney Smith was 7-0 with 78 strikeouts and a 1.08 ERA. Catcher Whitney Morrell was batting .500, with three home runs and eight RBIs. Shortstop Alexia Cortez batted .357, with 10 runs and third baseman Mikyla Houghlan was batting .353.
Bobcats coach Bill Ball said Bluffton's success, in part, was due to its defense. Newcomers Cortez and second baseman Amanda Dart have provided consistency in the middle infield, he said. And Houghlan moved from shortstop to third base.
Offensively, each of the first four in the Bobcats' lineup is batting at least .333, with Morrell's slugging to help lead the way.
Ball said sophomore Kim Kirby, who provided a big bat during last year's Class 3-A playoffs, was almost 100 percent after offseason elbow surgery and should play a key role late in the season.
Hardeeville boys crack top 5, Seahawks girls No. 1
The Hardeeville boys soccer team is ranked No. 5 in Class 1-A this week by the S.C. High School Soccer Coaches Association.
The Hurricanes are 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Region 5-A going into tonight's match at Battery Creek. Hardeeville defeated Branchville 6-1 on Tuesday.
Christ Church, St. Joseph's, Ninety-Six and Ridge Spring-Monetta occupy the first four spots, respectively.
The Hurricanes' lone loss came at home to Class 4-A Colleton County. They have since won four straight and avenged the loss to the Cougars by winning 2-1 on the road March 15.
Defending state champion Hilton Head Island High School owns the top spot in the girls' Class 3-A rankings. The Seahawks, 11-1 after Thursday's home win over Battery Creek, have lost only to Class 4-A Lexington. The Wildcats won by a goal on March 3.
Battery Creek's boys (5-1-1) cracked the Class 3-A poll at No. 15.
Four Warriors named all-region hoops
Whale Branch boys basketball players Leroy Perry, Andre Watson, Dee Delaney and Charles Jiles earned all-region honors from Region 5-A.
Perry, a first team Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette all-area selection, averaged 12.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. The newcomer Watson averaged 12.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals.
Delaney managed 10.1 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, 2.9 steals per game and 2.2 assists. And Jiles averaged 8.1 points per game, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals.
Hilton Head Crew takes 2nd in Aiken
The Hilton Head Island crew team participated in its second regatta of the season at Langley Pond in Aiken on March 17, winning eight medals en route to taking second place at the Augusta Invitational Regatta.
The team finishes its season at the Clemson Sprints on Saturday.
Boys Varsity 4+: 3rd, 8:03, B. Warner, W. Mott, C. Bruegger, R. Bishop, J. Oliveira-Coxswain
Girls Varsity 4+a: 4th, 9:14, K. Meredith, B. Norwood, S. Campbell, J. Bradford, C. Gusella- Coxswain
Girls Varsity 4+b: 9:49, J. Miller, K. Langan, C. Strickland, S. Mott, B. Romney-Coxswain
Girls Varsity 4+c: 8:55, A. Townsley, K. Campbell, C. Soliz, M. Webster, B. McCourt-Coxswain
Boys Lightweight Varsity 4+: 3rd, 8:16, T. Wilson, T. Shevlin, C. Theodore, M. Ochsner, M. Oppenheimer-Coxswain
Girls Varsity 8+: 3rd, 8:22, K. Meredith, K. Campbell, C. Soliz, G. Anderson, B. Norwood, J. Bradford, S. Campbell, M. Webster, C. Gusella-Coxswain
Boys Varsity 8+: 3rd, 7:01, D. Lysinger, C. Bruegger, M. Kiritsy, D. Baden, W. Mott, B. Warner, T. Berrigan, R. Bishop, J. Oliveira-Coxswain
Girls Novice 8+: 2nd, 8:09, A. Lawton, A. Peterson, B. Romney, A. Tillman, K. Mandigo, G. Anderson, P. Lawton, G. Lawton, C. Strickland-Coxswain
Boys Novice 8+: 2nd, 7:35, J. Mason, M. Head, P. Staff, G. Harriman, W. Unik, D. Baden, R. Garza, B. Glover, M. Oppenheimer-Coxswain
Boys Novice 4+: 1st, 8:13, M. Kiritsy, D. Baden, T. Berrigan, B. Glover, J. Oliveira-Coxswain
Girls Novice 4+a: 2nd, 9:41, A. Deir, H. Kunich, E. Tedesco, K. Saldivar, A. Townsley-Coxswain
Girls Novice 4+b: 10:42, S. Smith, V. Lopez, R. Sugg, G. Lawton, B. McCourt-Coxswain