Edgewood does it again with seventh straight title
By Tim Gayle
A new day brought a different attitude and another state championship for Edgewood Academy.
The Wildcats, by all accounts, should have been swept on Tuesday by Macon-East Montgomery Academy after managing just one hit in the first game and three in the second. Somehow, they found a way to win the second game 2-0 to force a third game in the best-of-three Alabama Independent School Association Class AA baseball finals at Paterson Field.
“Coach always tells us champions always find a way,” Edgewood senior David Cayton said. “Through their coaching and caring so much for us, we’re not really a team, we’re a family, so we find a way to pull through in adversity. He just told us to relax today and … to play not to lose but to play to win. We came out and did our thing.”
If the pressure was on Edgewood on Tuesday, it had shifted to Macon-East Montgomery on Wednesday. The Wildcats (37-8) came out and play loose and carefree, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning, five more in the third and six in the fourth for a decisive 18-5 victory that gave the Elmore County program its 11th state baseball title and seventh in a row.
“I thought (on Tuesday) we were a little tight and hats off to those two (Macon-East Montgomery) pitchers (Logan Coleman and Chapman Dean), they did a good job,” Edgewood coach Bobby Carr said. “But we took batting practice today after lunch and … I knew it was going to be a good day at the plate for us. That makes it easy to coach when those guys are hitting in the gap.”
A one-out RBI triple to right field for Jolan Stieringer started the scoring for Edgewood in the first inning and four consecutive singles in the third set the tone as eight of the nine starters had at least one hit.
Macon-East Montgomery (35-11), meanwhile, countered in the first as Matt Johnson and Will Graham led off the bottom of the first with singles and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Dean. After Edgewood starter J.J. Kidd ran the count to 3-0 against cleanup batter Hunter White, Carr elected to intentionally walk him and the move paid off. Tyler Sheehan struck out and Chase Center grounded out, leaving the Knights scoreless.
The next two innings, the Knight had the leadoff runner on board but couldn’t push him across.
“They’re here every year, so of course we’re going to be tight, we don’t know what to expect,” Macon-East Montgomery coach Bob Pickett said. “I tried to prepare them but that’s a hard thing to prepare a 15 to 18-year-old kid to know what to expect. When we got down early, I knew it would be tight for us but I was proud of my kids. We could have laid down but we battled back to make it a seven-inning game.”
Hunter Elliott, who pitched the Wildcats into the second day with a winning performance on the mound in the second game, was chosen as the most valuable player of the series, but on Wednesday the most noteworthy performances came from Jackson Tate, who went 4 for 5 and scored three times, and Cayton, who had a pair of two-run hits as Edgewood built a 13-0 lead.
The Knights were three outs away from ending the game via the 10-run mercy rule when they rallied with five runs in the fifth inning. Sheehan had a two-run double and Cannon Colwell and Seth Meadows drew bases-loaded walks in the brief rally.
“We just lost focus for a minute,” Cayton said. “We knew we had to get back at it and get our spark back. We jumped back on them.”
Edgewood answered with five runs in the seventh to extend the lead back to 13 runs.
After managing just four hits in 14 innings on Tuesday, the Wildcats exploded for 12 hits in the first four innings on Wednesday, finishing with 19 for the game to put an exclamation mark on Edgewood’s seventh consecutive baseball championship.
“I think it speaks about the character of this team,” Carr said. “We had eight seniors and those guys understand what it takes to be champions. They’ve been here before and they found a way to be the last team standing again this year.”