E.A. Sports Today

Falcons fly into playoffs

Donoho takes down Faith Christian to keep its string of baseball playoff appearances alive

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The Donoho Falcons could make a very convincing case for being one of — if not the — youngest teams in the Class 1A state baseball playoffs this year.

The Falcons clinched a spot in the tournament Thursday with a 6-4 victory over Faith Christian for the second spot from their area. They will play 10th-ranked Hackleburg (14-17) in their playoff series next week.

The group of players the Falcons used in the game included two eighth-graders, two sophomores, three ninth-graders and three seventh-graders.

“I think it’s a great accomplishment,” Falcons coach Steve Gendron said. “To have the young guys perform the way they’ve done in the area, the future is bright.

“I was hopeful always. After the first couple games I realized we had a lot of work to do and the young guys did their part. They really did.”

Ironically, they clinched on their Senior Day, the day to recognize their lone senior, Garrett Steed.

Gendron jokingly called it “Steed-ior Night.” And he credited Steed as a calming influence on his young charges.

“Sometimes I joke that I’m babysitting,” said Steed, who has been to the playoffs all six years he’s played on the varsity. “And when you’re talking to a seventh-grader who looks up at you and he says ‘Yes sir,’ nothing makes you feel older than that. They look up to me and they’re like my little brothers and that’s great. I’m just glad to be here teaching them. I hope I leave something here that sticks with each and every one of them.

“Going into the season I knew it would be a young team and in my mind I was thinking if we broke this playoff streak it would crush everybody. That’s been a big focus of mine and the team all year long.”

Steed had three hits against the Lions, was on base all four times he came to the plate, and pitched the final two innings after starter Seth Ford reached his pitch limit for the save.

Seventh-grader Judson Billings had a two-run single in a four-run third inning that put the Falcons up 6-0.

Riley Camp struck out 12 for Faith in a losing effort. He struck out the side three times.

Donoho 6, Faith Christian 4
Faith 000 120 1 — 4 9 3
Donoho 204 000 x — 6 7 2

WP: Seth Ford. LP: Riley Camp. 2B: Michael Kulick (F), Dodson (F), Judson Billings (D), Garrett Steed (D). Hitting – Faith: Camp 0-4; Huie 2-4; Sills 2-4, run; Key 0-3; Kulick 2-4, 3 runs, RBI; Steward 1-3, RBI; Dobson 1-4, RBI; Dodson 1-4, RBI; Martin 1-2, Sewell 0-3, RBI. Donoho: Steed 3-2, 2 runs; C. Willamon 1-4, run; H. Billings 1-3, run, RBI; Ford 1-2, 2 runs, RBI; Jase Alderman 0-2, RBI; J. Billings 1-3, 2 RBIs; R. Willamon 0-3; Haney 0-2; Connell 0-1; Willingham 0-3.

On the cover: Donoho’s Garrett Steed (3) takes a moment before participating in the Falcons’ Senior Day activities in which he’s the lone honoree.

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