AP NEWS

Northland Christian’s 11-hit attack decks FBCA in state championship semifinals 11-4

May 16, 2019

CROSBY - A promising start for Pasadena-First Baptist Christian Academy’s baseball team at the TAPPS state championship tournament led to an avalanche of Northland Christian runs.

The Warriors watched leads of 2-0 and 4-2 disintegrate into an 11-4 state semifinal shellacking at the hands of the Cougars at the Ballparks at Crosby Wednesday night.

“We had a tremendous run. We weren’t supposed to be here but here we are. We just ran out of gas. That’s a good-hitting team over there,” said FBCA head coach David Turner, making his third straight trip to state.

Northland Christian advances to play Trinity Christian Willow Park for the Division 3 state title Thursday afternoon at 1:30. Trinity Christian, a school located just west of Ft. Worth, won its semifinal game over Lubbock Christian, winning 3-1 in eight innings.

Back-to-back home runs off starting and losing pitcher Jake Sweeney in the third inning lit the fuse to Northland Christian scoring nine unanswered runs.

With FBCA leading 4-2, Marshall Ingram belted a game-tying two-run job deep over the left-field wall. The ball had no trouble clearing the 310-foot mark, probably landing in the vicinity of 350 feet.

Landon Murray then followed with a solo clout that put the Cougars in front to stay. The roundtrippers highlighted an 11-hit attack that was stockpiled against three FBCA pitchers.

“They hit the ball. They hit a curveball and a fastball. I didn’t know what to throw. They were hitting everything, every pitch. Any location, they just hit it,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney exited the mound one inning later when the Cougars scored four runs. But with a little imagination, it could have been an inning that the Coogs didn’t score any runs.

A throwing error to start the frame and a Sweeney strikeout could have meant two outs and no one on. Instead, the next batter tripled to make it 6-4, a suicide squeeze bunt created the seventh run, a wild pitch scored the eighth run and a sharply-hit single to left raised the deficit to 9-4.

To add insult to injury, back in the third inning when FBCA was still in the hunt, the Warriors left the bases loaded when starting and winning pitcher Bryce Gould collected a huge strikeout on a 2-2 pitch.

Gould was also the beneficiary to a 1-6-3 double play in the fourth and more FBCA misfortune on the basepaths in the fifth.

Though it finished in a losing manner, FBCA freshman third baseman Cade Walker appreciated the chance to play at the TAPPS state tournament at such a young age.

“I can’t wait to come back here next year. It felt really good to get here but unfortunately we lost. But we made it here. We’re good. Hard work pays off,” Walker said.

ravery@hcnonline.com