WOODSTOCK — If Evan Ezell could count on one thing this season, it was that he would be in Sequoyah’s lineup.
Ezell, who graduated in May and will play baseball at Maryville (Tenn.) College next year, didn’t have a regular position, but he was certainly a staple.
On any given day, he might find himself on the mound, behind the plate, taking throws to first base or swinging his bat as a designated hitter.
“I pitched a good bit as a starter or in relief,” Ezell said. “I got to catch some, played first base some. It was a good year. I got to do a lot of things. I even was the DH sometimes.”
Ezell embraced his role at Sequoyah this season.
From the mound, he worked 31 1/3 innings with a 5-1 record, 2.23 ERA and 34 strikeouts. At the plate he, batted .312 overall and .345 against Region 7AAAAA opponents. He drove in 20 runs, collected eight doubles and a triple and finished with a .427 on-base percentage as Sequoyah placed third in the region.
For standing out from the crowd this season, Ezell is the 2014 Cherokee Tribune Baseball Player of the Year.
“I just feel honored to be considered with all these good players (on the all-county team),” Ezell said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my coaches. Without my teammates,
I wouldn’t have been able to put up the numbers that I did without them getting on base and me driving them in.”
Ezell, who is playing this summer for the Georgia Jackets, was a part of the Sequoyah baseball program for four seasons. Coming up through the feeder program, he recognized that the Chiefs lacked depth behind the plate and focused his efforts on catching as a way to get into the game.
“That was my primary position, but I kind of played infield and pitched at times,” Ezell said. “So when Sequoyah needed me this year, I fit into that role.”
Catching remains Ezell’s favorite position because he gets to be involved in every play and every pitch.
“You get to manage the game and call the pitches,” he said. “You are the only player on the field that can see everything at one time.”
Because he served the team in so many ways, Ezell could usually count on playing on a given day, but where he would be in the field often changed. Either Daniel Seres or Russ McGlamry would catch for the Chiefs when Ezell was playing elsewhere. Likewise, when Ezell was catching or on the mound, Tristan Roberts, Tyler Holmes or Brian Exley could be found at first.
If Ezell was schedule to start a game on the mound, he was usually given one-day notice.
“I could prepare to hit almost every single day,” Ezell said. “When I had to start (on the mound), I would starting preparing the night before, mentally, to get ready for that start.”
Every time Ezell stepped to the plate during a home game, “Becoming the Bull” by the band Atreyu would be heard over the loudspeakers. Ezell said he chose the rock song because it pumped him up. “It gave me that extra motivation going up to the plate,” he said.
Moving on to Maryville, Ezell isn’t sure what his next role with be.
He knows he will be playing baseball and plans to study computer science and statistics. After carrying a 4.0 GPA through high school, he said he chose the college near Knoxville because its philosophy lined up with what his parents always told him.
“They always emphasized that grades come first before sports,” Ezell said. “One of the reasons that I chose Maryville College is that they have really good academics and the major I want. They put academics first, before athletics.”
Maryville recently named a new coach, meaning all of the players will have a clean slate.
Ezell believes this will allow him to contend for a key role.
“I’m just going to go up there with an open mind that I can help the team and see what I can do.”