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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Immanuel wins baseball Valley Championship

With their season and the Division 5 Valley championship on the line, the varsity boys’ baseball team took the field against the Immanuel Eagles on May 21. They were not only competing for Fresno Christian’s first ever baseball section championship, they were trying to exact revenge after last year’s 2-1 playoff defeat in the semifinals to these same Eagles.

“Last year’s defeat was extremely disappointing,” coach Jon Hall said. “It was a game we feel we definitely could have won. I was excited that we were going to meet them again this year but things just didn’t work out.”

However, Fresno Christian made two errors in a two-run Immanuel first inning. Immanuel’s Kyle Kupiec, ’02, pitched a five-hitter to hold the Eagles scoreless and Kupiec doubled in a run to give Immanuel a 3-0 victory.

“Kupiec pitched a dominating game,” Casey Belmont, ’02, said. “He shut us down. It was an extremely disappointing defeat but I was pleased with our season. I expect to see next year’s team in the finals again against Immanuel; it should be a great game.”

Fresno Christian has suffered five straight playoff defeats in four men’s sports to Immanuel, including: two straight semifinal playoff defeats in tennis, a basketball defeat in the 2002 semifinals and a football defeat in the first round of 2001.

“This loss was worse than our defeat in basketball this year,” Jon Steele, ’03, the losing pitcher, said. “We met a very skilled pitcher and could not get a rally going. It is unfortunate Kupiec is not going to be their next year because I think we can beat him and it’s always nice to be challenged.”

Steele, who was also the point guard for FC’s basketball team, led off the sixth inning with a single and Hall decided to try and light a fire under his team by calling for a steal. However, Steele was thrown out and Kupiec went on to close out the game.

“I chose to send Steele because he hasn’t been caught in 25 tries,” coach Hall said. “Plus, we have a special diversion play that we use against the better teams and nothing else was working so I decided to take a risk.”

Despite their narrow defeat, the Eagles already had claimed a West Sierra League championship by posting a 14-0 league record and they finished the season ranked 4th in Division Five in all of California. Arguably, their season was the best ever for a Fresno Christian boys’ team in any sport and was undoubtedly the most successful baseball.

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