Sports Editor’s Note: The Bethlehem Christian Academy baseball team was still a relatively young program going into the 2013 season. The Knights, however, had advanced to the GISA Class A semifinals the previous spring and returned most of its roster for 2013.
Like any state championship, however, it wasn’t going to be easy. In the end, BCA, coached by Nick Pou, was simply too strong, too talented and too much for any opponent at that level to handle. It’s also worth noting that during the regular season, BCA defeated the eventual GISA Class AA champion and tied the eventual AAA champion.
Athletics has helped build BCA as a school as well. The positive publicity generated by the baseball title has caused more people to become aware of the school and its offering in all areas, sports and beyond.
For their efforts, the BCA Diamond Knights state baseball championship is the Barrow Journal’s sports story of the year for 2013.
The following is one of the stories published by the Barrow Journal in its June 5, 2013 edition concerning the state title, obtained with a doubleheader sweep of David Emanuel Academy.
The Bethlehem Christian Academy baseball team has run out of opponents to defeat.
In only their second full season of varsity play, the Knights capped the 2013 season Friday with a doubleheader sweep of David Emanuel in the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class A state championship series.
BCA finishes the season 21-5-1 overall as the Knights did not lose to a Class A team all season. Coach Nick Pou’s team held on for a 4-2 win in the opener Friday before cruising to an 18-0 victory in the second game in somewhat of an anticlimatic fashion.
Despite the lopsided win in the state championship clinching game, the celebration began immediately as BCA players and coaches took in every part of the winning moment.
“I am proud of my team,” said sophomore P.J. Klein, who will be one of the top returning players for the Knights next spring. “I have really enjoyed this. It has been an awesome experience.”
Teammate Chandler Garmon also found the moment hard to put into words.
“It’s incredible,” the senior said. “We have been working for three years for this moment. To finally reach it is an amazing feeling.”
Niko Mailloux earned the win in game one. He went four innings before giving way to Jordan Fountain who worked the next 1.2 innings.
With the game close, Pou took no chances and brought in pitching standout Jared Martin to close the door over the last 1.1 innings.
BCA jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the third inning. All three runs came on one play as Luke Allen reached base allowing Fountain and Martin to score. Before the play was over, Allen was racing for second and Ramon Rivera was able to cross home plate.
The Knights added one more run in the bottom of the fourth when Mailloux doubled home Klein, who had an infield hit earlier in the inning.
David Emanuel, however, pushed two runs across in the top of the fifth. After Blake Patterson and Daniel Overstreet walked, Fountain was called on in relief. The runners were then balked to second and third before Scott Irvin connected for a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Patterson. A single by Seth Durden to left then scored Overstreet.
BCA put plenty of runners on base in the opening game but left 10 stranded.
While it appeared the home plate umpire had a tight strike zone, Pou said that is going to happen in a state championship series.
“He was calling it tight both ways,” Pou said. “In a state championship, umpires are going to expect certain things.”
Martin, who was set to work game two, only needed 15 pitches to close out game one. Pitchers are allowed 10 innings of work in a series so the BCA senior was still set to start in the second half of Friday’s doubleheader.
“Jared is a special one,” Pou said. “We wanted to get that win in the first game. Teenagers have a different mindset. While we still could have come back and won the next two games, you don’t want to take a chance of your players having a mental letdown after losing a close game. In a best-of-three series, the best team usually comes out of it the winner. We felt we had enough pitching to carry us, but winning the first game is always important so we went ahead and brought Jared in.”
It didn’t take the Knights long to set the tone in game two. BCA scored three runs in the top of the first (the Knights were the designated team in game two), five in the second and three more in the third. BCA plated four more in the fifth and tacked on two in the sixth and one more in the seventh.
David Emanuel tried several pitchers in game two, but none could come close to match Martin’s accuracy and dominance. Martin recorded nine strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
“It feels great to have accomplished so much this season,” said sophomore Jacob Fincher. “I’ll relax a little and then get ready to go back to work.”
Sophomore Luke Allen transferred from Dacula High School and praised his BCA coaches and teammates.
“It has been great to be a part of this team,” Allen said. “I’m going to enjoy this. I’m not thinking of next year yet.”
Senior Jordan Fountain termed the championship “exiting” and was thankful to close out his high school career as the No. 1 team in the state.
“Even though the second game might not have been as exciting, to win the state championship is something we will always remember,” Fountain said. “It was a great way to finish my high school career. There could be no better way to go out.”
Fountain said he is still mapping out his future. A career in coaching is a possibility, but he said he has not finalized his post high school plans.
For the BCA head coach, climbing to the top of the mountain in only his second season has been quite an experience.
“I don’t think I really understand what we have done for our program and school,” Pou said. “These players will remember this for the rest of their lives. It’s great to be a part of this and to see them achieve so much.”
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