Runners-up CCS takes second in state playoffs after only third season

In their first-ever trip to the AISA playoffs and only their third season of varsity baseball, the Cornerstone Christian Chargers finished as runners-up for the 2003 Class A title last weekend.

After defeating Demopolis Academy, 9-6, and a decisive 7-1 victory over Jackson Academy, the Chargers dropped two games to Abbeville Christian on Saturday, ending their season with a second place finish.

&uot;Our season was better than we expected it to be,&uot; said head coach Tim Smith. &uot;To go from not having varsity sports three years ago to making the tournament and to get to the point where we are playing for the state championship is just incredible.&uot;

The Chargers were led by all-state selections Jeremy Walden, Jon Ray and senior Chris Wills.

Ray, an eighth-grader, was 2-0 as a pitcher in the final four.

&uot;Jeremy Walden had a great tournament from behind the plate,&uot; Smith said.

The junior catcher threw out four baserunners during the tournament.

Smith said the team ran out of pitching and didn’t hit the ball well enough to defeat Abbeville, who came from the loser’s bracket to defeat the Chargers 9-6 and 6-4 to claim their first baseball championship in school history.

Nerves may have also contributed to Cornerstone’s lack of production in the finals, Smith said.

&uot;They had never even been to the playoffs before and then they made the final four and then the championship game,&uot; he said. &uot;They were a little tight.&uot;

The taste of defeat may still be too fresh for some Cornerstone players to appreciate the success of their season, but Coach Smith acknowledges the team exceeded expectations.

&uot;They’re a little down right now,&uot; he said. &uot;They don’t realize what they’ve really accomplished.&uot;

And the future looks promising for Cornerstone, who returns 11 of 14 players from a team that posted a 16-8 mark in 2003.

&uot;The boys can’t wait for next year,&uot; Smith said. &uot;We’ve got to keep getting better to get back to the championship.&uot;