GABRIEL GARCIA | THE ADVOCATE & DEMOCRAT
Sequoyah's Alex Stakely prepares to swing at an incoming pitch in front of Pigeon Forge catcher Ben Breazeale during the seventh inning Wednesday at Tim Leonard Field. Stakely's base hit scored the winning run for the Chiefs, handing the Class AA No. 1-ranked Tigers their first loss of the season.
|Published: 3:29 PM, 04/16/2013
||Last updated: 3:51 PM, 04/16/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
MADISONVILLE - Sequoyah and Pigeon Forge had been trying to get
a game together for the last two years. On Wednesday, the opportunity finally came on short notice
- a game scheduled literally the day of.
And what an opportunity it was, with the Tigers
coming on to Tim Leonard Field ranked No. 1 in the state's Class AA, boasting Division I college
baseball commits on their roster and undefeated at 17-0.
Make that 17-1 after
Alex Stakely's walk-off RBI hit in the seventh inning - just out of reach of a
diving outfielder - delivered the final payoff for the Chiefs, who hung tough against Pigeon Forge
all game before picking up the 9-8 win, their biggest of the season and the Tigers' first blemish
"I just think God was with me today," Stakely said after his bat sent home Trey
Strickland to win the game. "I prayed before I got out there, and he really came through for
The Chiefs' game-winning batter had also made key defensive plays in his center field
spot, catching two first-inning fly balls - including one on the run - to prevent Pigeon Forge's
formidable top of the order from dealing any more damage than the early 2-0
"Incredible day for him," said Sequoyah coach Adam Kefauver about Stakely. "The best
by far he's had since he's been here defensively. All facets of the game, he played really well
and just was a competitor, and that's a great example of how our whole team was
Sequoyah (12-2) never fell behind by more than three runs. Starting pitcher Dustin
Moser, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, slowed Pigeon Forge's offense just enough to keep the Chiefs in
striking distance, fanning four in the process.
"It's unbelievable how much he's improved
as a pitcher from last year to this year," Kefauver said. "Very good understanding of the game,
very good command of three pitches now, just a very good leadership presence up there and guys
feel really comfortable playing defense behind him."
The Chiefs used a three-run fifth
inning to take their first lead of the game at 7-6. The Tigers countered with a sixth-inning solo
shot over center from Koleman Roach to tie. In the seventh, Drake Byrd's lead off double and Jake
Griffin's sacrifice bunt ended Moser's day, then an RBI single from Wake Forrest commit Ben
Breazeale off relief pitcher Garrett Dalton gave the Tigers back the lead at 8-7.
meanwhile, Wil Crowe stepped on the mound in the sixth inning and caught Jake Johnson and Forrest
McKane looking to end that frame.
But the Chiefs found a way against the future South
Carolina Gamecock entrusted to close out the game in the seventh. Josh Watson got Sequoyah started
with a double to left field, and then Caleb Miner forced 10 pitches out of Crowe during his
at-bat, finally getting the ball in play with a grounder that ended up dead on the right foul
Breazeale, at catcher, overthrew the first baseman in haste, the Knoxville Catholic
transfer's error allowing Watson to score the tying run and Miner to advance to second base, where
Strickland stepped in as a courtesy runner. Dustin Moser and Tanner Moser both struck out, setting
the stage for Stakely's walk-off.
"We played every facet of the game as close to perfect as
you can get," Kefauver said. "We executed bunts, played great defense. We pitched the ball well
and we competed at the plate and found a way to put the ball in play against a really good
On the other hand, the Tigers had an uncharacteristic five errors, none bigger
than Breazeale's. Three of those errors were committed by Crowe, who moved to the shortstop
position from his starting third baseman spot after Pigeon Forge's first pitching
"We obviously made a lot of mistakes, but the bottom line is, I tip my hat to them.
Sequoyah played a great baseball game," said Pigeon Forge coach Mike Guinn. "They took advantage of
every mistake we made, and hats off to them, they played great. Their pitchers pitched great,
their batters battled all night long, and I thought they did a great job."
given the Tigers the first-inning 2-0 lead with a two-run round tripper. In the second inning
Sequoyah got its one error for the game out of its system, which extended Pigeon Forge's lead to
Dustin Moser sparked his own cause in the bottom of the second with a double to right
center field for the Chiefs' first run. Stakely tacked on another RBI double and then scored the
run to knot it at 3-3 off Crowe's hesitation on a throw to first.
Max McCoig put Pigeon
Forge back up 5-3 in the third with his two-RBI double, and the teams traded runs before Watson's
base hit and Miner's sacrifice grounder sparked Sequoyah's rally in earnest in the fifth. Dustin
and Tanner Moser both had RBI singles to give the Chiefs the lead for the first time.
very excited and hopefully we hold on to this confidence, carry it over into our district play and
the postseason," Kefauver said.
And Sequoyah will return to District 5-AA play 7 p.m.
Monday at Tim Leonard Field, hosting Polk County for the first game of a key series that
will likely determine district tournament seeding.
Subscribe to The Advocate and Democrat by clicking SUBSCRIBE.
Sign up for Breaking News emails from The Advocate and Democrat by clicking EMAIL ALERTS and inputting
your email address next to "Add Me" near the top left corner.