Macon East, Edgewood collide for state baseball title
By Tim Gayle
Macon-East Montgomery Academy and Edgewood Academy split their two regular-season meetings this season, giving little indication of what to expect from the Alabama Independent School Association state baseball finals that start today at Paterson Field.
Edgewood (35-7), winners of six consecutive AISA baseball state championships, won the most recent meeting 12-0 after holding the Knights to two hits.
Macon-East Montgomery (34-9), dropping down from Class AAA to AA this season, won the early-season matchup 5-4 as ace Chapman Dean had both the win and the loss in the two meetings.
“They’ll be well coached, their players know how to win and they expect to win,” Macon-East Montgomery coach Bob Pickett said. “That’ll be an advantage to them. But we won’t be intimidated by them.”
The Knights and the Wildcats will open play in the best-of-three Class AA finals today at 10 a.m. A third game, if necessary, will follow on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Lowndes and Crenshaw will meet in the Class A finals today at 3 p.m., while Autauga and Monroe will meet on Wednesday in the Class AAA finals at 10 a.m.
For Edgewood, there are no superstars such as Auburn pitcher Cole Lipscomb or Alabama pitcher Mitch Greer, teammates who carried the Wildcats to state titles, or Taylor Hawthorne, the hero of the 2014 series with Marengo. The players may be ordinary, but their accomplishments are not. Edgewood Academy will be seeking its seventh consecutive state championship this week, something that has only been accomplished one other time.
From 1991-2000, Sammy Dunn’s Vestavia Hills baseball team was the undisputed best high school baseball team in the state, playing in the Class 6A finals each year. Jeff Davis defeated the Rebels in 1993 before Vestavia Hills rolled off seven consecutive championships. No one has approached that record until Edgewood and while there is a lot of difference between the Rebels’ domination in the 1990s and Edgewood’s dynasty in the 2010s, no one can match the level of success both teams have enjoyed in championship trophies during those eras.
“It’s an opportunity,” Edgewood coach Bobby Carr said. “We always try to find a way to challenge our kids.
“The thing that is special about these guys is we don’t have that one super star. We just have a bunch of kids that know how to win baseball games. They have responded to every challenge we’ve put in front of them. A lot of people have doubted them because we don’t have that super star.”
Senior Hunter Elliott (9-0) and sophomore Caleb Sullivan (7-2) will take the mound for the Wildcats, facing Dean (9-1), a junior, and senior Logan Coleman (9-2).
Both teams have some balance through the lineup as far as driving in runs, which is how the pair reached this point. For Edgewood, seniors Jolan Stieringer (.417, 41 RBI), Tyler Mathews (.382, 15 RBI) and David Cayton (.354, 27 RBI), along with junior Noah Eller (.462, 29 RBI), are the leaders at the plate. Macon-East Montgomery will counter with seniors Matt Johnson (.452) and Hunter White (.395, 39 RBI), along with Dean, who has driven in 40 runs.
“There’s no pressure on us,” Pickett said. “We’re not supposed to win, if you ask anybody else. We’re just going to go out and enjoy it and play it.”
AISA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS