Players compete in athletics for a variety of reasons, but one is to play for and win championships.
The 2014 Bethlehem Christian Academy baseball team now knows about winning and capped the season with a state championship for GISA Class A. The Knights rallied to win two games in a best-of-three series against Crisp Academy last weekend and did so on the road in a hostile environment.
“It’s a great feeling,” said BCA’s Jacob Walls, who joined the program this school year. “It’s really exciting. At first I was nervous even though I tried to treat the series like any other game. In the first game, however, I think the magnitude of the situation weighed on myself and some of the younger players.”
Wall’s teammate, Jacob Fincher, one of the players who was part of the state championship from last season as well, said the second time earning the trophy was just as exciting.
“It might have been even more exciting this time,” Fincher said. “Last year we pretty much breezed through, but this year we had to really work and win two series that went three games.”
Even after the Knights lost the first game 6-2 to Crisp Academy, Fincher said he didn’t sense much panic.
“Mentally, we were prepared,” he said. “We played poorly in the first game, but we were still in it. We knew we couldn’t lose any of the confidence we had. We then overcame everything thrown at us in the second game and knew the momentum had gone back in our favor.”
P.J. Klein, who was a key player for BCA this season on the pitcher’s mound and in center field, said the team overcame adversity throughout the season.
“It all goes back to when we started throwing in November,” Klein said. “Coach (Colby) May has told us it matters what you do every day. When you are prepared then nothing can rattle you. I am proud of each player. This was a team effort from players who came off the bench to players on the field and the coaches. Everyone worked well together.”
Down 1-0 in the title series, Klein said he admits to being a little frustrated.
“I was not happy with that first game and I told my teammates we needed to play together to win the second game,” Klein said. “After we got that win, we were fired up and came out full of energy.”
Giving credit to teammate Luke Allen for his performance in the third and deciding game, Klein said the team knew the championship was there for the taking.
Allen said winning another title is a great accomplishment and it was possible since the Knights always put the team ahead of individual honors.
“We always try to pick each other up,” Allen said. “That’s what being part of a team is about.”
As May turned game three over to Allen, the BCA standout said he knew what he had to do.
“I just tried to pound the strike zone and let my defense work behind me,” Allen said. “This championship is just as special as the first one.”
BCA will not be able to go for another Class A title next spring as the Knights will be in Class AAA for 2015. That challenge doesn’t seem to bother any of the BCA players, all of which return next season.
“I know we will be able to compete,” Allen said.
“I look forward to that challenge,” Klein said. “We don’t want to be satisfied with what we’ve done. It’s not supposed to be easy. You want to earn it and keep getting better. I have full confidence in my teammates and coaches that our success will continue.”