Gabriel Garcia | The Advocate & Democrat
Sequoyah's Matthew Arp dives backward to catch a fly ball from McMinn County's Javan Simpson Monday at Tim Leonard Field. The play secured the Chiefs' 4-3 win over the Class AAA Cherokees.
|Published: 2:24 PM, 05/04/2013
||Last updated: 2:24 PM, 05/04/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
MADISONVILLE â€” Matthew Arp made his Senior Night one to remember.
With deceptively dangerous McMinn County poised to take the lead in the top of the seventh, the left outfielder dived backward for the fly ball from Cherokees cleanup hitter Javan Simpson. With Arp flat on his back with the ball secured in his glove, the Chiefs escaped their Class AAA visitors' rally to win, 4-3, Monday at Tim Leonard Field.
The Cherokees (5-22), despite their overall record, came in on a late hot streak. They knocked off District 5-AA's No. 2 finisher Polk County, 7-2, on Thursday, then turned around the next day and defeated McMinn Central.
"Itâ€™s not a team you want to play at this point," said Sequoyah coach Adam Kefauver about McMinn County. "They donâ€™t have anything to lose, and we kind of do.
"But we kept our composure, and that shows a lot about our team."
Sequoyah (18-3), trying to keep from being the Cherokees' next 5-AA victim, was nursing the 4-3 lead when singles from Drew Godsey, Corey Edgemon and Tyler Biddle loaded the bags with only one out.
Garrett Dalton came over to the mound to stop the threat and preserve the win for starter Forrest McKane, who pitched the first six innings. Dalton, replacing Josh Watson, struck out the next batter and then forced the fly ball Arp caught to win the game and get Dalton the save.
The Chiefs, seeking to get back on track after their rematch loss at Pigeon Forge, broke open a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth, with Watson's double into center field putting him in scoring position for Caleb Miner's own two-base hit. Later in the inning, Arp bunted dead into the dirt, and the McMinn first baseman dropped the catcher's throw, scoring another run for the 3-1 lead.
Dalton and Micah McCrary started the next inning with consecutive base hits, and a throw from the Cherokees' catcher to first base to discourage McCrary from stealing went errant, and Dalton ran home to put the Chiefs ahead 4-1.
But the Cherokees came back in the sixth, putting two runners in scoring position with one out. A sacrifice grounder, then a Ryan Fowler single each scored a run and closed the Cherokees to 4-3.
" ... To be down 4-1 in the sixth inning, to make an effort and get two runs and to have bases loaded in the seventh to have a chance, you canâ€™t say enough about that," said McMinn County coach Jason Howard, whose team will try to make a run in its District 5-AAA tourney.
Sequoyah would play at District 4-AAA's Maryville Tuesday, and it travels to Gibbs today to continue its pre-tournament gauntlet.
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