|Published: 2:04 PM, 03/13/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
The Sequoyah Chiefs tasted unprecedented success in baseball last season with their first-ever trip to sectionals.
And now they aim to surpass that standard, even after losing five key seniors from the landmark 2012 squad.
“I think we’ll be up there at the top of the district competing for the championship again,” said Sequoyah coach Adam Kefauver. “Hopefully we’ll head onward state. That’s our expectation and goal this year.”
Gone are District 5-AA player of the year Trey Dyer, district pitcher of the year Seth Debity and All-District honoree Scott Bowers, as well as Chris Arp and Taylor Schultz.
On the other hand, Forrest McKane is back and ready to serve as the Chiefs’ ace on the mound for 2013, as well as hit in the middle of the lineup. Jake Johnson, an all-state player last season, is also still around at first baseman and left-handed pitcher. Matthew Arp is expected to step it up his senior season, and Garrett Dalton, a junior, comes in hitting above .400 his first two years.
Sweetwater’s baseball team has nowhere to go but up following a 2012 campaign in which they only posted one win, and that out of district.
Likewise, Tellico Plains seeks to improve on a winless district record and a season going 2-17 overall.
As a mostly sophomore-laden squad last season, Tellico took its lumps last year, finishing 3-4 in District 3-A and 6-17 overall.
But that season was not without its highlights - including wins over Midway and Rockwood - and with a year of experience under their belts, these now-juniors greet their 2013 campaign with greater expectations.
“Last year I think a lot of the close game we lost was maturity,” said Tellico assistant coach Don Swanson. “I think they realize now what they can be.”
Katie Jo Ellis will be the Lady Bears’ main pitcher. Brayden Garren will also pitch at times, while mostly serving at first base and being Tellico’s big-hit threat.
Tellico Plains only had one senior last year, and will only have two this year in Hannah Burrell and catcher Elaine Lovin.
Sweetwater will try to improve on a 2012 season with a few ups - namely a regular-season split with Sequoyah and ousting the Lady Chiefs in the District 5-AA play-in - and more downs. Samantha Bowling, who signed with Walters State this week, will look to lead the Lady Wildcats’ efforts as a senior.
Sequoyah’s softball program, meanwhile, will seek to be the latest piece to the school’s ongoing sports renaissance. The Lady Chiefs are coming off a 4-16 season, but a season in which they served notice that they would not be the automatic mercy-rule fodder they had been before. However, Sequoyah will also be adjusting to a new coach in George Nichols.
Sweetwater will try to get back to the District 5-A/AA championship game for the fourth time in the last five years, and this time the Wildcats look to hit the ground running under coach Don Layman.
With a year under their belts following what was a rebuilding effort in 2012, the Wildcats expect a smoother start to 2013, led by players such as Andrew Birge and Harrison Harvey.
Sequoyah, on the other hand, will seek to improve on a 1-8-1 season, in which it lost all its district games.
Tellico’s soccer season, meanwhile, is currently in question with only nine players on the roster as of press time.
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