Faith Christian baseball finishes 4th in NCCSA 2-A tournament
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 15, 2012 1:49 PM
KINSTON -- This was not the finish Faith Christian's baseball team envisioned when it set its preseason goals in early March.
No sir, not at all.
The Conquerors breezed through N.C. Christian Schools Association Class 2-A eastern region opponents with ease and grabbed the No. 1 seed for the state tournament. But Faith's attempt to win the program's first-ever state title ended with consecutive losses to Union Grove and region nemesis Trinity Christian of Greenville this past weekend.
Tears flowed and players shucked their jerseys once the final out had been recorded against Trinity. Head coach Justin Smith gathered the players together, talked about the weekend and congratulated them for getting this far.
Seven seniors -- Silas Denlinger, Connor Anderson, Wes Caudle, Brandon Jones, Michael Clarke, Trent Wise and Alex Whitt -- played their final game for the green and gold.
"We hit the ball better today," an emotional Smith said.
Wise batted 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored two runs. Levi Wise contributed two hits. Silas Denlinger swatted a fifth-inning home run. Jones, Caudle and Whitt supplied one hit apiece. Caudle and Jones each scored two runs.
The Tigers avenged a pair of regular-season defeats to the Conquerors, who fashioned a 14-6 record on the diamond this spring. Faith was making its third appearance in the final four since 2003 when it finished runner-up. Smith's 2010 squad was also runner-up.
"We just didn't have a killer pitcher (this year)," Smith said. "Michael, this was just his second year pitching. Brandon did as well as he could for the number of innings he threw."
Jones and Clarke grabbed spots on the NCCSA All-State team. Caudle and Denlinger received first-team All-NCSSA East Region honors, while Trent Wise was a second-team all-region pick.