Faith Christian beats Manitou Springs to claim 3A baseball title

Faith Christian baseball team champions

Faith Christian won the 3A baseball championship. More photos. (Matt Mathewes/MVPSportsPics.com)

GREELEY — Faith Christian is growing its legacy.

The Eagles adding a third Class 3A baseball crown with a 5-1 win over Manitou Springs on Sunday. Faith Christian also won in 2007 over Erie and 2011 over Holy Family.

In a double-elimination format, Faith was the last team to lose in the postseason, meaning the Eagles were already guaranteed a spot in the title game with or without the 4-2 eighth inning loss to University on Saturday.

After the Mustangs beat University 3-2 in eight innings in the de facto semifinal game earlier Sunday, Faith Christian got an outstanding performance out of senior ace Austin Stone when it counted most as Stone had three consecutive strikeouts in each of the second, third and seventh innings.

Stone finished his final prep game by going the full seven innings and racking up 11 strikeouts, while only allowing two hits and one earned run.

He had a 2.33 ERA headed into Sunday and completed an 8-0 season. Stone also had an RBI double in the top of the sixth to push Faith Christian’s lead to 5-1.

“All my pitches were working today,” Stone said. “My curveball was working really well. I was getting a lot of over-the-top swings. I was trying to pitch through contact most of the time, but it was nice getting so many strikeouts.”

Faith Christian coach Ralph Nance thinks Stone deserves plenty of accolades for all he accomplished during the state title run.

“Austin Stone has really come on in the last month or so and been tremendous,” Nance said. “Obviously today you saw it. He’s the 3A player of the year without a doubt.

“The rest of the seniors were there the whole time. They pulled everybody together and made it a really fun ride. They really came together as a team and did all the right things. They are great student-athletes.”

Davyn Adamscheck, a junior on the mound for Manitou in the final, had an RBI single to score Dominic Archuleta in the bottom of the first.

Faith Christian took a 2-1 lead off back-to-back RBI singles by Gavi Wygant and Macklin Brockmeyer in the top of the second as the Eagles had seven hits in the first three innings.

Faith Christian senior Adam Buchman opened up a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth for the Eagles with an RBI single. Faith could’ve put the Mustangs at a bigger deficit, but stranded two runners in the inning.

Faith Christian baseball team champions

More photos. (Matt Mathewes/MVPSportsPics.com)

Nonetheless, they pounded out 12 hits and five runs in the final. Buchman also had a spectacular catch for the final out in the sixth.

Nance, now the proud owner of his first state championship in his 13 seasons with the Eagles, especially has a feel good story.

“I had a big heart attack in March before the season started,” he said. “It was one of those things where you don’t know if you’re going to be around the next minute. I’ve been going through recovery and the kids have been supportive. I love these guys. I’m just so thankful the way things turned out. It’s a dream.”

Nance’s teams were appearing in their sixth Final 4, but he missed the two title runs with time off from the program. This was his first time ending the season as the 3A winners.

“It means everything to us,” Stone said. “Our coach really needed it. He deserves it all.”

Adamscheck gave up 10 hits and five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings for Manitou Springs in the final, handing the ball to Sean Whalen down 3-1. Whalen then gave up the two-run RBI to Stone.

The Mustangs did have a memorable run to the title game.

And on the final day of baseball this spring, Manitou, in the de facto semifinal game against University, had another fine outing on the mound, this time from senior Zach Garrett. Garrett tossed 7 2/3 innings, throwing 103 pitches and giving up only two runs.

A game that went to extra innings, the Mustangs had a game-winning RBI single to the middle of the field by junior Sean Whalen in the eighth, outlasting University 3-2 to seal a bid to the final.