05/13/08 — Faith Christian wins third straight title

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Faith Christian wins third straight title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 13, 2008 3:37 PM

CHARLOTTE -- One timely hit.

One untimely miscue.

And it all occurred on the same play.

Brook Anderson delivered a fifth-inning double and scored on an outfield error to give Faith Christian Academy its third consecutive state softball championship Saturday afternoon. The extra-base hit and Trinity Christian's defensive error led to a 4-3 victory in the N.C. Christian Schools Association Class 2-A title clash on the Cramerton Christian diamond.

"These girls ... every year we really seem to play our best softball at the right time," said Faith Christian coach Jeff Stocks. "It was a very good game."

And a tense one, too.

After Anderson scored the go-ahead run to make it 4-3, the Conquerors escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning. Right-hander Jennifer Christopher, who earned a spot on the all-state team, induced a pop-up for the first out.

Christopher struck out the next batter, but catcher Renee Provencal dropped the pitch. The batter was out since the bases were loaded, but Provencal still threw to first base. First baseman Madison Caudle alertly threw back to Provencal, who tagged Trinity's runner out at the plate to end the inning.

"It was a strange play," said Stocks.

Trinity went quietly in the seventh and Faith Christian became just the second county school -- public or private -- to win three straight state crowns in one sport. Wayne Country Day captured a string of state titles in women's tennis in the 1990s.

Christopher finished with seven strikeouts as the Conquerors logged their third consecutive 14-win season. They won 10 in a row after an extra-inning home loss to perennial NCCSA 3-A power Wilmington Christian in mid-April.

"These girls just don't beat themselves," said Stocks. "Each year you never really know what to expect. We're not goal oriented, but I did say to the girls 'you are the team to beat this year. You won the state title and everybody knows you have everybody coming back."

Faith Christian won its first two championships with strong defensive efforts. Consistent hitting spearheaded the Conquerors' title run this season and it paid off for several individuals.

Stocks said a few players boosted their respective batting averages.

"We actually walked up to the plate this year knowing we could hit anybody we faced," said Stocks. "We weren't intimidated by anybody's fast pitchers this year. We played with more confidence than we have the past two years."

Provencal and reserve Heather Crumpler will graduate. Stocks will return seven juniors and one sophomore, which should undoubtedly make the Conquerors the hunted next season.

Stocks' teams are a combined 42-7 during their current championship run.

"A state championship is big any time," said Stocks. "I don't know how you can rank them in importance because they all feel different in some way. That is the most exciting championship game I've ever been around.

"We had tremendous parent support. Every player had family there and with so many people there, it made things more energetic."