Mar. 19—No sooner did Jason Pahman's four-wheeler stop Friday, mid-drag of Faith Christian's infield, when his eyes welled and tears streamed. All it took was one question about his son's big day on the diamond.
Colton Pahman delivered six RBIs on three two-run hits in Faith's 10-5 victory to clinch an area series against Jacksonville Christian, and his coach/dad had a moment.
"I'm an emotional guy, and I've been coaching him since he was 4 years old," the elder Pahman said. "It's not easy, being a coach's son. Some people say it's easy, but it ain't.
"I coach him harder than anybody, but I can always count on him to come through when I need him."
Faith (9-5) averted a tie-breaking second game Friday, gaining a needed series sweep. The Lions lost two area games to Donoho before beating JCA on Monday, and the series victory over the Thunder evened Faith's area record at 2-2.
The top two from a five-team area that also includes Ragland and Victory Christian go to the playoffs.
Likewise, JCA needed the series. The Thunder returned to action this week after missing two weeks while its long-time head coach over multiple sports and principal, Tommy Miller, and Miller's wife Frankie battled COVID-19.
Neither saw their oxygen-blood saturation level drop below 90, so neither spent time in the hospital. Still, he went as low as 91, and she hit 93, after an infusion of antibiotics. Both felt awful.
The experience impacted Miller more than physically. Also a long-time pastor for Wellington First Baptist Church, he said he has presided over COVID-related funerals over the past year.
"For the next 36 hours, I didn't know if I was going to live or die," Miller said. "That's the truth. Real high fever, body aches completely all over and headaches. It was extreme.
"After those 36 hours, it got a little better, but we had three or four more days after that where we were just really sick."
As he lingered outside the Thunder's dugout, just having completed the team's postgame huddle, he credited "the hand of God" for the fact "that I'm standing right here."
Miller's opponent was glad to see him.
"Coach Miller is a legend in every sport he coaches," Pahman said. "I have such a tremendous amount of respect for him. I always have, from the time I was a referee and now coaching.
"He does wonders at that school, but we were on a mission today and Monday that we were going to take care of business."
Colton Pahman mounted the mission's biggest individual contribution. His day included two-run doubles in the third and fifth innings and a two-run single in the sixth.
The junior's two-run double served as the big blow in Faith's three-run fifth. The hit, which followed Andrew Folsom's RBI single, landed just inside the foul line in deep right field and put the Lions back ahead, 6-5, after JCA went up 5-3 with five runs in the top half of the inning.
"I was just trying to get a base hit," Colton Pahman said. "I was trying to hit a line drive and bring the runners in, and I ended up hitting it farther than I wanted to."
Faith's three-run fifth came with purpose. The Lions huddled in front of the dugout before coming to bat behind JCA's five-run at bat.
"We said, don't back down, and don't give up," Colton Pahman said. "Keep fighting and don't let them win. Let's go home after the first game."
Cam Moses' three-run home run to left-center field highlighted JCA's five-run rally in the top of the fifth. The Thunder loaded the bases ahead of Jack Harrelson's sacrifice grounder and Ethan Fair's RBI single, and Moses followed with a first-pitch rip.
The home run came an inning after Moses walked at the end of a 16-pitch at bat against Colton Pahman.
"We threw the kitchen sink and the plumbing with it," Jason Pahman joked.
Moses came into his fifth-inning at bat a seasoned plumber.
"I'd done seen everything he's got," Moses said. "The second time, he always throws a first-pitch strike, so I was just sitting on the fastball."
Colton Pahman, who struck out six batters and allowed one hit through the first four innings, gave way to Brady Whitworth, who allowed one hit with four strikeouts in the sixth and seventh.
Faith followed it's three-run, go-ahead rally in the fifth with four runs in the sixth. Brodie Dodson's run-scoring single got it started ahead Colton Pahman's last two-run hit of the day, and Walker Whitworth singled home a run.
It all went into a chilly-but-triumphant day for Faith baseball, and the 1 p.m. start allowed the school's student body to watch. No need for a second game, so father and son went home early to enjoy warmth.
"He put on for his city and put on for his school," Jason Pahman said, his voice cracking. "Every kid that attended school was out here today, and he wanted to do something special. He wanted to make it a day they would remember, and he did.
"I couldn't have been more proud."
Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.