Falcons swinging for baseball playoff berth | TheUnion.com

Falcons swinging for baseball playoff berth

The Forest Lake Christian missed a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs by one game last year.

The Falcons split the regular season series with both eventual Central Valley Christian League champ and section runner-up Woodland Christian and the league’s second place team, Victory Christian of Carmichael.

Not so bad in and of itself, but the real killer came with a pair of one-run losses to Faith Christian of Yuba City.

FLC went on to take third in the CVCL and with that, the final playoff spot.

“I was sure we had a pretty good chance to make it to the playoffs last year. We had a very strong squad. Kevin (Holt) was our ace on the mound and we had (a solid defense). But I told the kids the reason we didn’t make the playoffs was because we didn’t score enough runs,” FLC head baseball coach Ken Holt said.

If yesterday’s CVCL opener with visiting Wilton Christian is any indication, the Falcons (6-2 overall, 1-0 CVCL) have remedied that situation.

FLC totaled 23 runs off of 14 hits in a mercy rule-shortened shutout win.

Jimmy Wagner, who struck out 13 of 15 Patriot batters, said the win will pay dividends down the road.

“This game was great because it shows the guys we can score a lot of runs,” he said.

FLC lost coach Holt’s son, 6-foot, 7-inch southpaw hurler Kevin, to graduation, but return with nine, count em, nine pitchers.

Aaron Christal, Wagner, transfer Matt Lockhart and freshman Michael Weiss will comprise FLC’s starting rotation with Nick Whittington leading the bullpen.

“This is probably the deepest we’ve ever been at pitcher. We lost our ace in Kevin, but we’ve added numbers,” coach Holt said.

FLC will also have depth in the field.

Whittington, the Falcon’s sole returning All-CVCL first team performer, will anchor the infield at shortstop.

Casey Hobbs, Lockhart, Kory Kraning and Joe Martin will battle it out for the remaining three infield spots.

The Falcons will have a three-year starter and 2001 CVCL second team selection behind the plate in senior Jay Hobbs.

“I’d have to say he’s probably the best catcher in the league. He caught Kevin as a sophomore and he’s gotten better and better every year.” Holt said. Jake Kobliska, Matt Boatman, Christal and Wagner will share time in the outfield.

At the plate, Holt has Lockhart, Whittington – who hit .400 last year – and Wagner (.560 this season) in the first three.

“I think the first three are pretty solid, and with everybody else returning from last year, we’ll be fine. There again, we lost a couple good players to graduation, but we’ve gotten deeper and I think we should be stronger (at the plate),” said Holt.

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