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Impressive Faith claims district baseball crown


The Faith Christian Lions went to the District One A final in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

They left with losses of one run, one run and two runs respectively.

Maybe last Thursday’s championship against No. 3 Delco Christian at Boyertown was three years of angst coming out. No. 1 Faith (19-0) cruised to an 11-4 win. A six-run second inning, all with two outs, blew the game open.

“For the seniors in particular, there was definitely a little extra motivation,” head coach Nick Koffel shared. “They had come so close. The attitude over the last week has been much more ‘Hey, let’s get this done and let’s stay focused longer.’ They’ve been working really hard in particular this week.”

Faith has spent all spring bludgeoning opponents, outscoring them 242-23. Just two teams – Plumstead Christian and Bristol – played the unbeaten Lions as close as three runs.

Koffel said that the Lions have benefited from both good health and a stable lineup. The team batting average hovers around .450. While top of the order hitters like Reid Miller (.620 average), Jagger Verbit (27 steals), Kendri Beltre (36 RBIs) and Grayson Weikel (nine homers) provide thump and speed, the bottom of the order has also been very productive.

“The guys at the bottom can run and bunt very well, which helps,” Koffel pointed out. “That is something we have been preaching since Day One: I saw how special this team could be if we did the little things correctly. They took those words and ran with it and they’ve been doing things right all year.”

On the mound, Miller had a 0.49 ERA and struck out half the batters he faced in the regular season. Weikel, a Cedarville two-way signee, had a 2.62 ERA and averaged nearly two strikeouts per inning.

Both have good fastballs but Miller has good “command of his off-speed pitches, which makes him that much more dangerous,” Koffel said.

Because Faith has mercy ruled so many opponents – 13 – it has kept Miller’s and Weikel’s pitch count down. “It’s a blessing and a curse, at the same time. I love ending in three or four innings,” Koffel emphasized. “But getting other guys a little more innings, I wouldn’t complain about that either.”

Chase Gieser and Ethan Johnson, who would be Faith’s No. 3 and No. 4, have needed to throw just 13 innings all spring. “It is great,” Koffel said, “but at the same time, I’m going to have to rely on guys who haven’t had as many innings to go into an important state game now.”

Faith, which MaxPreps has ranked No. 5 among Pennsylvania Class A programs, opens PIAAs on June 3 by playing District 11 champion Nativity BVM.

“At the beginning of the year, I always do individual and team goals. And they have to be realistic goals,” Koffel offered. “Almost every player said ‘Win a district title and either make a state run or win a state title.’ The kids believed it from the beginning.”

Faith has pitching depth, a potent offense and belief. “One nice thing about our team. If someone is not swinging well at the plate, someone else is,” Koffel pointed out. “Someone all year has been hot at some point. It’s just a matter of can four guys get hot at the same time instead of one or two guys. But I truly in my heart believe that we can make a legit state title run.”

The uncaged Lions have earned that chance for a run starting next Monday.

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