The Bethlehem Christian Academy baseball team enters the postseason as a No. 1 seed after posting an undefeated record in GISA Region 1-A.
As much as the players and coaches appreciate that accomplishment, the Knights have their eyes set on a bigger prize. After advancing to the state semifinals last spring in their first full season of varsity play, BCA is hoping to take the final step this season and compete for it all.
That quest begins Friday with an opening-round best-of-three state series against Georgia Christian. A 1:30 p.m. doubleheader is set for Friday with a third game, if necessary set for Saturday.
“Our guys know we can’t take anything for granted,” BCA coach Nick Pou said. “Last year was a great experience, however, we have to concentrate on what we have to do in order to be successful and advance this season.”
BCA enters the postseason with an overall record of 13-5-1. The team has not lost to a Class A opponent. The Knights also defeated Brentwood, the defending Class AAA champions, 7-5 during the regular season. BCA also tied defending AAA champion Tattnall Square 3-3 in the 2013 opener and fell to the Trojans 4-2 later in the season in Macon.
“In the playoffs with a best-of-three format, pitching is always a key,” Pou said. “We believe we have enough pitching to make it. Even our younger players have been improving.”
While the team has five losses overall, Pou said the tough non-region slate should benefit the Knights in the postseason.
“Our schedule has helped keep us humble,” the coach said. “We have hit the ball well this year, and everyone in the lineup has contributed.”
BCA will be at home in the postseason for as long as it continues to advance. Georgia Christian enters the series at 6-10 overall.
“We certainly have a major challenge in front of us this weekend,” said Georgia Christian coach Donald Dawkins. “BCA has certainly made a name for themselves over the past two years. Baseball is a great game because if a team can put the ball in play offensively, limit mistakes defensively and throw strikes, they will generally be in the ballgame. We will certainly give a maximum effort. We have a lot of guys that have a lot of experience, so I feel confident that this should be a good series.”
BCA NOTES: The Knights closed out the regular season with a 17-0 win against region foe Nathanael Greene Friday. Niko Mallioux earned the win as BCA will concentrate on its opening-round series with Georgia Christian this week in practice. The second round, should the Knights advance, would begin May 17.
Mallioux is one of eight seniors this spring for BCA along with Jared Martin, Matt Masters, Jordan Fountain, Chandler Garmon, Chase Curtis, Brody German and Chance Spratlin.
Georgia Christian is the No. 4 seed from Region 3-A.
In Friday’s game against Nathanael Greene, Pou stepped in and helped prevent the ejection of one Patriot player. The Patriots’ starting pitcher hit four BCA batters in the bottom of the first and was set to be ejected by the home plate umpire. After discussion between the coaches and umpires, the player was allowed to stay in the game after he moved to first base.
“He’s a senior and I didn’t see any need for him to have to miss the first-round playoff series,” Pou said. “It was just a frustrating day for him. I don’t believe he was throwing at our batters intentionally.”
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