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Faith Christian advances to 1st PIAA title game


The Faith Christian Academy baseball team accomplished a feat it had yet to do in school history, but the Lions are not done.

On Monday, Faith defeated Bishop McCort, the District Six champion, 6-1 to advance to its first-ever state championship game.

“The guys have been working extremely hard from day one, and their goal was a state championship,” Faith head coach Nick Koffel said. “As coaches, we saw that as a possibility if we stayed healthy and if we jelled as a team.”

The jelling occurred much quicker than Koffel thought. With an entirely new coaching staff, he expected some bumps along the road – but it’s been a smooth ride as the crux of their season approaches. He was quick to credit his players for that.

“The leadership of some of our seniors and some of our juniors has been outstanding this year,” he added.

The Lions jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Kendri Beltre hit an RBI single that brought home Jagger Verbit.

After Bishop McCort’s Lucas Turner tied it shortly with a solo home run in the second, Verbit hit an RBI single to regain the lead. Then, in the fifth inning, Faith Christian broke open the contest.

Noah Wilson hit a bases-clearing double that brought home three runs and then scored a little later on a wild pitch.

Koffel on what the offense did right: “They were aggressive early. When we got on base, we were taking advantage of the speed at the top of our order – stealing a couple of bases and taking free 90s. And then just timely hitting.”

Faith starting pitcher Grayson Weikel threw a complete-game victory for the Lions. He struck out eight and allowed just five hits and no walks.

“From the very beginning he pretty much dominated the strike zone,” Koffel said. “He really commanded the strike zone well.”

The Lions (22-0) are one win away from history. They’re set to face Eden Christian, the District Seven runner-up, at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 14, at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in State College.

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