Faith Christian doesn't waste Johnson's gem in blowout win over Community Christian

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Faith Christian School's Alex Crosby smacks the ball for a hit and a run batted in on Thursday during the game against Wilson Community Christian at Faith Christian School.


Sports Writer

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Chase Johnson didn’t need long before realizing his secondary pitches weren’t as crisp as usual.

The Faith Christian School pitcher, throwing against Wilson Community Christian on Thursday at home, issued a pair of walks in the first inning before securing the third out by blowing a high fastball past a Cyclones batter.

It was after that inning that Johnson knew his fastball would have to carry him through his first start of the season. It did, the Patriots lineup hit, and FCS (3-1) won, 13-1, in five innings.

“I didn’t really feel like a lot was working in the first so I went to the fastball,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to find what’s working, and once you find it you don’t ever leave it.”

Johnson struck out the side in the second, then allowed an unearned run in the third. By the end of the inning, FCS led 12-1 and the right-hander’s start was over after 59 pitches.

Johnson’s last appearance was a save opportunity, so the start, and extended innings, were new territory this season for a pitcher whom the Patriots will depend on down the stretch.

“The main thing was getting him some work tonight,” Patriots coach Ronnie Beddingfield said. “He came around and did a good job once he settled in. He’s been a little anxious because he hasn’t been hitting that well, but he got a hit in the first and settled in. It was good to see him get a feel.”

Indeed, Johnson, who didn’t have a hit through the first three games, went 3-for-3 on Thursday with an RBI single and a walk. The Patriots collected 14 hits in all, and the top seven batters in the lineup each got at least one hit.

Alex Crosby led the assault with a 4-for-4 effort, including a double that banged off the wall in center. Garrett Pannell and Brayden Leonard each added two-hit games. Pannell and Landon Lewis each had two RBIs.

“It boosts my confidence, you don’t get down on yourself,” Johnson said of collecting a few hits. “If you have a bad at-bat you can’t let it carry over to the mound, but when you’re hitting you don’t have to worry about it. It’s all mental.”

The 13 runs are the most scored by FCS this season, and Beddingfield credits the offensive outburst to a collective smart approach at the plate. The Patriots batters were selective, which led to Community Christian (1-3) pitchers issuing six walks over their four innings.

Maybe even more impressive was the discipline with two strikes. FCS batters got on base 11 times when faced with two-strike counts, either by drawing a walk or a base hit.

“I liked the fact that they were patient tonight and hit good pitches when down in the count,” Beddingfield said. “Our top three guys have been carrying us all year offensively, so it was nice to get some other guys some hits and get rolling. We got another one tomorrow and we’ll try to keep these bats rolling.”

Faith Christian is looking for its fourth consecutive win when it hosts Thales Academy at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.