The Frederica Academy boys soccer team fell short of claiming a state championship on Saturday as the Knights lost 1-0 to Westminster in the Georgia Indepedent School Association final held at Mercer University in Macon.
Now, the sports fans at the private school on St. Simons Island will turn their attention to the baseball field where next week the Knights diamond men will go for a state title after sweeping Tiftarea in the Class 3A semifinals at home on Friday.
In boys soccer, the Knights’ loss to Westminster was the second in two years to the Wildcats in the state final as Frederica also lost to the perennial power in last year’s championship contest.
Westminster has now won five consecutive state titles and eight overall.
The Wildcats scored the lone goal of the match with just under 14 minutes to go in the first half when midfielder Thomas Drake booted a hard shot into the Frederica goal from 35 yards away.
Frederica had scoring chances early in the contest and then had others in the seconnd half, only to be turned back by Westminster’s strong defense which was praised by its head coach, Mike Freace, for continuously holding off the Knights who are capable of scoring goals in bunches.
The match was the last for Freace as coach of the Wildcats. He has accepted a full-time job with Missionary Athletes International in Charlotte, N.C.
Frederica gave itself a shot at this year’s state crown with a 3-0 victory over Fugees on Friday in the semifinals which were also played at Mercer.
The FA girls team saw its season come to an end Friday with a 4-0 loss to Deerfield-Windsor in the semifinals. Deerfield-Windsor went on to win 1-0 in the championship match on Saturday against Augusta Prep which also was playing for a fifth straight state title.
The Frederica baseball team will play for its first state crown next weekend in the best-of-3 championship series which also will be played at Mercer.
The Knights will face off against Trinity Christian-Sharpsburg which swept Trinity Christian-Dublin in its semifinals series on Saturday. The Lions won the opening game 13-9 before winning the second game 16-5.
On Friday night, the Knights also took two games against Tiftarea to advance to the finals. Frederica won the opening game 1-0 behind a complete-game shutout by Trey Thompson and then took the second game 5-1 to finish off the Panthers.
The lone run in the opening game came on a solo home run by Frederica leadoff batter Deke Jernigan in the bottom of the third.
In the second game, the Knights jumped out to a 4-0 lead while Eric McCall handcuffed the Panthers’ offense as he held them without a hit until the fifth inning.
McCall was lifted in the bottom of the sixth after Tiftarea loaded the bases. Thompson returned to the mound for the Knights and got them out of the jam with only one run crossing the plate.
McCall drove in a fifth run for the Knights in the top of the seventh before Thompson closed the door on the Panthers in the bottom of the inning.
Frederica lost in the semifinals in the 2013 and 2014 state tournaments.
Trinity Christian-Sharpsburg was playing in its third straight semifinal series on Saturday. The Lions lost in the state final last year to John Milledge, the same team Frederica defeated in this year’s quarterfinals.
The state championship series opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Game 2 is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday with the third game slated for 7:30 p.m. if needed.