The Metrolina Christian Warriors defeated SouthLake Christian Academy on May 1 to improve to 20-6 on the season and become the Metrolina Athletic Conference tournament champions for the first time in school history.
The Warriors, who were also regular season MAC co-champions, set the school record for most wins in a single season, breaking last year’s record of 16 wins.
Coach Darren Adams, now in his fifth season as the Warriors’ coach, said he didn’t know what to expect from his team when the season began, considering the loss of a few key seniors off a squad that won back-to-back regular season MAC titles.
“We thought we were going to have a good team, but we didn’t know fully what to expect after losing five seniors from last year’s team – a team that won the conference outright two years in a row,” Adams said. “But we got a few key guys that transferred in, had more numbers tryout this year for varsity, JV and middle school and interest is at an all-time high so we had big hopes for this year even after losing those
The Warriors had a rocky start to their season, dropping three of their first four including a tough 4-3 loss to private-school power Charlotte Christian, a game they led 3-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. But then they hit their stride, winning 14 of their next 16 games on their way to creating the best season in Warrior
The strength of the Warrior team lies in their sole starting senior, Trey Timmerman, who’s been on the varsity team since his freshman year and leads the Warriors from the plate, batting .465. The Brunswick Community College commit also leads the Warriors in hits and RBIs this season and Adams said his senior leadership has been a major factor in their impressive season. Alongside Timmerman, the Warriors have strength in junior left-handed pitcher and Forest Hills’ transfer Aaron Stewart, who’s 5-1 and leads the conference with 75 strikeouts.
“Aaron’s been phenomenal from the mound,” Adams said. “He’s exceptional and Trey has been really big for us this season too.”
Timmerman and Stewart have help in Christian Carpenter and Spencer Turner, the Warriors’ starting first baseman who’s been hitting over .500 during the last month, and Luke Bricken, who starts at third and is second on the team with 23 RBIs.
“We’ve really got a host of guys that have been playing their best lately,” Adams said. “There’s a lot of talent on this team, a lot of young talent, that’s really stepped up to fill in those shoes that graduated.”
With enrollment at Metrolina Christian at an all-time high and growing interest in the JV baseball program that went 12-6 this season, Adams said that the Warrior baseball program is headed in the right direction.
“The future is very bright at Metrolina,” he said. “I think we have a great coaching staff and an exceptional school. We’ve got a brand new baseball facility that’s extremely nice and we’re playing in a tough 3A conference that plays all the big schools so all those factors
With the conference tournament wrapped up, the Warriors will host a first round state playoff game for the first time in school history. Because of new tournament regulations, only 12 schools make the playoffs instead of the 16 teams of years prior. The Warriors earned an automatic berth by winning the conference tournament.
“I told our guys and I think this team realizes that we’ve accomplished our first goal of winning the season and our second goal of winning the conference,” Adams said. “But I told them that now a new season starts. We’re playing very good baseball and our guys are confident they can win.
“We’re hoping for the best in the playoffs.”