Since he was 14 years old, Ty Sutley knew he wanted to end the drought for Beech baseball. Friday night, Sutley and his teammates did just that.
“(It’s) unreal. It’s something we’ve talked about since we were freshmen. We talked about how good our class was and we thought we had a legitimate chance,” said Sutley. “That’s what we’ve been talking about. Just reverse the curse. Heal the drought.”
The last time the program was in the state tournament was in 1982, when Beech won its first and only AAA baseball title. Sutley got to hear about that experience first-hand from his dad, Eric Sutley, who was a member of that team.
“When I was 14 years old, he told me how hard it is to win a state championship, because I was just getting into high school ball,” Sutley said. “Since then, that is all I’ve dreamed of. Let’s go back, let’s kill the drought. And we are going back.”
Finally ending the streak after 35 years, almost seems fated with the son of a member of the 1982 Buccaneers championship team, which just happened to be honored at the start of this season.
A fact that coach Jimmy Neal thinks, “just kind of carried (them) through.”
This is Neal’s 11th season as the coach of the Buccaneers and in that time he can only recall two times the program has reached the sectionals, this year’s drought-ender and a 2008 loss to Ravenwood.
“There’s been a lot of expectations over the Beech program over the years and it’s not me. It’s these kids. They do what I ask them to do. They work hard. And this win is theirs. They deserve.”
Beech was able to beat Summit, a team that had made in to the final four in the state tournament a year ago, 7-1 and never trailed.
“I was telling the guys before that I really wanted this game,” Sutley said. “It meant a whole lot to me.”
Reach Autumn Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: @Aallison25.