The playoff ride is about to begin again for the Bethlehem Christian Academy baseball team.
This Friday the Knights will look to take the first step toward back-to-back state crowns when they host Twiggs Academy in the opening round of the GISA Class A state playoffs. Some players, as well as the head coach, have changed since last spring, but that hasn’t changed the way BCA has dominated its region. The Knights walked through their region schedule with a perfect 8-0 record, extending their undefeated mark in GISA Region 1-A to three seasons.
No team in the region really was on the same playing level with BCA. Even with one seemingly close 8-4 game with Curtis Baptist on the road, the Knights outscored their region opponent 110-4. Now that’s domination.
This is a different season and truly a different BCA team. However, the winning mindset which was established last spring remains. Some players, including P.J. Klein, Jacob Fincher and Luke Allen, were key members of the 2013 state title. Each has stepped up their game, both offensively and defensively this season.
In examining the state brackets, there is probably one team which one could argue has a chance to defeat BCA. That won’t be until the finals. It could be argued, in theory, there is one other opponent which has the ability to push the Knights to a three-game series.
Truthfully, BCA has to be the favorite due to its status as defending champion and its deep pitching rotation.
The Knights will likely have to go on the road this spring to win it all and that’s never an easy thing. During my years on the high school sports beat, you often see strange things happen during playoff games (in any sport) when your team is on the road. Calls tend to go against you and the fact that the Knights, who are still somewhat of the new kids on the block, are having success so early in their baseball history does irritate some, believe me.
First-year head coach Colby May, a former player at the University of Georgia, has done a solid job of keeping the team humble. The schedule features several opponents in larger classifications who provided strong tests for the Knights.
BCA, if playing to its capabilities, will have a chance to win it all again. It’s a remarkable story for the program. Two years ago the team shocked the state by advancing to the semifinals. Last year it won it all.
What will happen when all the dust settles this time? I don’t have a crystal ball to look into, but I do know it will be fun to watch.
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.