View Mobile Site
  • Bookmark and Share

Bethlehem title defense just two wins from reality

Are we there yet?

POSTED: May 28, 2014 12:00 p.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

BCA assistant coach Steven Fruitticher takes the mound for practice.

View Larger
View More »

Bethlehem’s Knights will play their final games of baseball this weekend without doubt, but what remains to be seen is how this season will be remembered.

With a two-game sweep of Robert Toombs Academy on Saturday, in wins of 10-2 and 9-6, BCA locked up their second consecutive GISA Class-A state title appearance. The Knights will face Crisp Academy on Friday, with the first game starting at 1 p.m. and the second game starting 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first.

BCA pitching stunned Toombs early with PJ Klein throwing five innings of Game One before Luke Allen came in and closed out the opener. Allen would come in again and close for Jacob Fincher in the second game, as well.

"Luke Allen’s a gamer and he’s just going to do whatever the coaches ask," Coach Colby May, head varsity baseball coach at Bethlehem Christian Academy, praised. "Fincher came in and gave our hitters a chance and did a great job.

"That helped us out a lot. We got runners on, and got them over and got them in," May mentioned. "They put the ball in play and strung hits together in a timely manner."

In the three-game series against Fullington Academy, Bethlehem only acquired 10 runs. They matched that total in just one game against Toombs and nearly doubled it with the second game.

While the Knights struggled to make offensive plays and score runs in the series against Fullington, May was quick to point out that his team had grown extensively and was much more comfortable at the plate in their semifinals series.

"We worked really hard that week just trying to do less," May somewhat cryptically answered. "We were trying to do less at the plate than last week’s game and we were hitting more line drives and ground balls, and we got ground balls through the gaps that really helped us out a lot.

"That was a great adjustment the guys made in learning from their mistakes in that past week. That was big for us, and it was big for us to be challenged the way we were against Fullington, and it showed."

All season, the Knights have faced a blend of quality opponents and struggling teams. In the first round of the playoffs, Bethlehem feasted on Twiggs’ inability to end at bats because of routine errors and missed connections.

Fullington, however, showed much more discipline and shocked the Knights back into the reality that a decent opponent can still get the better of them. Coming into Saturday’s series with Toombs, the most vital question was which Bethlehem team was going to show up and what level of competition they were ready for. Fortunately for May's program, the Knights who traveled to Toombs did so knowing that it would take the entire team to achieve their ultimate goal.

"It’s easy to become complacent when you’re winning a lot and things are going well. Just trying to keep them level-headed was the biggest thing, and that definitely showed against Fullington. We can’t take anything for granted. We need to stay with our approach and stay with what we know to do and try to do to much and try to get the big hit and carry the team individually," May explained. "It takes the full team to win, not one individual person."

Now, after a season of work and building that team approach, the Knights are on the verge of repeating as state champions. With everything that the team has been working towards this close, it would be easy for the team to lose focus, but May has every intention of keeping Bethlehem focused on the matters at hand.

"We’re just trying to go out with the same intensity in practice and control each A.B. and take ground balls and make the plays," May said. "That’s pretty much all they can control and not get all caught up in the hype of the championship game, and the guys have done a good job of not getting caught up."

May once again alluded the Fullington series and surmised that his team may have let themselves get caught up in the hype of what was at stake instead of focusing on the task set before them.

For his money, though, May would rather every practice be exactly the same regardless of whether the next game is a state title game or an early season non-region opponent. For the Knights, consistency is king.

"As a coach, I don’t like to change things up towards the end. I like to keep things the same no matter where we’re at, and I think that’s helped our guys keep focus and not put any pressure on them," May noted. "That’s all we can do, and whatever happens happens. They’ve done a good job of having confidence and enjoying each day because it could end just like that.

"I ask them ‘Just give me one more week,’ before each playoff game, and they’ve done a good job of that," May added. "They’re tired, but they’re doing a good job of working hard. Their minds are going to take them through it because baseball is such a mental sport."

For the Knights, a large part of that practice consistency has to do with the pitching and catching duo of assistant coaches Steve Fruitticher and Matt Nicks. Throughout the season, those two assistants have taken over both ends of the mound and allowed May to focus on coaching the team through situational hitting.

According to May, Coach Fruitticher has consistently thrown more than 200 pitches in a week in order to give the team live batting experience in a diverse array of scenarios.

"He likes to throw live A.B.s. He’ll throw 200+ pitches a week, and all of our hitters will get situations. We can do our bunt situations, our hit-and-runs, our drags, we just get it all done and it’s nice to have that," May applauded.

With Coach Nicks, the Knights have something of a utility infielder who can take on any open position in the field when someone is out or unable to join practice for any reason.

"He’ll play any position I need him to play. I know they love it," May added.

With such a helpful and talented coaching staff, the Knights should have a better than good chance at going into Crisp County and coming out of it as the once again defending state champions.

"It’s going to be a fight for both teams and it’s going to be a good ballgame. Both coaches expect big things out of our team, and it’s going to be a battle," May said of Crisp.

"Anything can happen. I don’t really know what to expect. It’s going to be a grind, but it’s going to be fun."

The 2013 Knights defeated David Emanuel at home in the GISA Class-A title series.

 

COMMENTS

  • Bookmark and Share

No comments have been posted.

LOCAL

MOST POPULAR

Login to post a comment

http://www.barrowcountynews.com/ encourages readers to interact with one another. We will not edit your comments, but we reserve the right to delete any inappropriate responses.

To report offensive or inappropriate comments, contact our editor.

The comments below are from readers of http://www.barrowcountynews.com/ and do not necessarily represent the views of The Newspaper or Morris Multimedia.
You must be logged in to post comments. Login ›

 

Contents of this site are © Copyright 2010 Barrow County News, Winder, Ga. All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...