It surely wasn’t in Sequoyah head coach Josh Monhollen’s game plan to get a decent lead, give it up and then win in nail-biting fashion on Thursday against Sweetwater.
But maybe it should have been.
After going up 3-0 by the top of the third inning at home, Sequoyah squandered its lead to the Wildcats, allowing six straight unanswered runs across three frames to see itself trailing 6-3 at its final chance at bat.
But the Chiefs made the most of their final opportunity.
Sequoyah loaded the bases with no outs before Joe Britton batted in Andrew Arp and Josh Stakely with a double, cutting Sweetwater’s lead to just one run. After an out, Caston Moses hopped on a chance to run home, tying the game at 6-6.
That’s when freshman Preston Abudalla stepped up to the plate and delivered a well-laid bunt that scored Eric Neal from third base and won the county matchup at 7-6. The Sequoyah dugout cleared as players rushed the field in celebration of the close-call victory.
“Tonight’s win was big for us in several ways,” Monhollen said. “It is always great to get a win against your county rival and a district opponent. It’s always fun to walk off at home. To wrap those up into one win tonight was very special.”
The Chiefs originally acquired their 3-0 advantage by way of RBIs from John-Douglas Wiggins, Stakely and Caston Moses. The hits by Wiggins and Moses were doubles.
Sweetwater’s comeback rally was paced by Luke Mashburn. He drove in Tyler Hall with a no-out triple in the top of the third inning, then scored on a pitch past the catcher to cut Sequoyah’s advantage to just one run.
Mashburn ran home on a Jake Littleton sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth and used a single to score Ty Ezell and Jayce Upton in the top of the sixth, finishing the night with three RBIs and two runs.
“(Mashburn has) been working hard and it paid off tonight at the plate,” Sweetwater head coach Chris Armstrong said.
Dalen Gibby also had an RBI for Sweetwater, batting in Alex Foster on a sacrifice in the top of the fourth inning.
“Played our butts off,” Armstrong said. “Sometimes things just don’t fall your way. That’s baseball and life, just have to keep grinding and stay on path.”
As the regular season comes closer to a conclusion and playoff baseball looms on the horizon, Monhollen was happy with what he witnessed from his team against both a county and district rival.
“The biggest thing for our team this year, especially after last night’s loss, is to see the reward of never giving up on a game,” Monhollen said. “Three runs down going into the bottom of the seventh, I asked them if they were ready to give up or show everyone out there who Sequoyah baseball is.
“I’m proud of them for fighting to the finish and winning a big game against a good opponent.”