Building successful high school athletic programs usually takes time.
There are exceptions, of course. Each sport is different in a variety of ways and some allow for more success early in their existence.
For the Bethlehem Christian Academy fast-pitch softball team, the process has been a gradual one, but the players and coaches look at each step forward as a positive.
Last week the team earned a win against a region foe. Positive.
The Lady Knights received a strong pitching performance from Morgan Martin. Positive.
BCA showed glimpses of its potential offensively by scoring eight runs. Positive.
“We try to improve in some area with each game and with each practice,” said coach Jaclyn Sloan, who was busy herself during the game constantly encouraging her players for each positive aspect of the contest. “We know it will take some time, but our girls are committed to being successful. It’s always good to win like we did today, but often times you know you are improving even if the scoreboard doesn’t have you on the winning side.”
The softball program is just one of several sports offered at BCA, a growing school with an ever-improving athletic program.
Mark Barth, who helps coach the team’s highly successful baseball program, is helping with the softball team as well this school year.
“We’re getting there,” Barth said. “It may take some time, but it’s great to be on the field and see the girls competing and having fun. Winning is a bonus. We all want to win, but there are certain things you have to do to get to that point.”
Martin was effective in the region victory. She recorded strikeouts against the first two batters she faced. She had to fight out of a slight jam in the first inning, leaving the bases loaded, but no runs crossed home.
In the second and third innings, Martin put John Hancock down in order and allowed only a two-out walk in the top of the fourth. The visiting Lady Rebels did push one run across in the top of the fifth, but by this time, BCA had the game well in hand leading 8-0.
The Lady Knights then closed out the contest on the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth.
Tough opponents awaited BCA this week as they entered their busiest stretch of the 2013 season. A game against established, perennial state playoff team Piedmont Academy was played Monday followed by another region game against Curtist Baptist Tuesday. The team will also play Briarwood, a region foe, Thursday before playing Class AAA Loganville Christian Academy Saturday.
“The players enjoy competing and being part of the team,” Sloan said. “We try to support each other and pick each other up when things may not go our way. It’s great to be back on the field this season and have our players continue to grow and enjoy success.”
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. Send comments about this column to him at email@example.com.
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