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Donoho’s ‘Ballplayer’

‘Ballplayer’

Anniston, AL – Senior Elliott, a thread through all of Donoho’s recent deep-run seasons, plays his last for the Falcons in season-ending series at Lindsay Lane

By Joe Medley

Steve Gendron and Lucas Elliott didn’t want their coach-catcher to end, not on Wednesday and not in this way.

It was tough enough to see another deep Donoho playoff run end in the quarterfinals, with losses of 4-0 and 15-5 at Lindsay Lane.

The reality of losing a senior and Wallace State-Selma signee, who contributed in record-setting ways to Falcon runs as far as the 2021 state-final series, set in before he could wipe the sweat- and tear-smeared eye black off of his face.

“He’s going to be impossible to replace,” Gendron said.

Five days prior to Wednesday, in Donoho’s second-round sweep of Fayetteville, Elliott Lucas became the first Falcon with three consecutive 40-hit seasons. After Wednesday’s losses to Lindsay Lane, he reached base safely in 56 consecutive games, every game dating back through the 2022 season.

The statistical metrics go deep with Elliott, who broke into the starting lineup as an eighth-grader, in 2019, but Gendron sees so much more.

“He’s a leader of the team, and guys look up to him,” he said. “Great offensive player, great defensive catcher. … He did a lot of really good things for us in his time. We’ll continue to stay in touch. We’ll continue to remain friends, and when he comes back, he can throw BP to them or whatever.

“He’s a ballplayer, man. One of the greatest compliments that can be given is, you’re a flat-out ballplayer, and that’s what he is.”

Elliott had a single in each of his last two high school games and an RBI in the last one. He caught Blake Sewell’s four-hitter in Game 1, which also featured six walks and five Donoho errors.

Donoho’s Blake Sewell allowed just four hits in seven innings in Game 1 of Wednesday’s Class 2A quarterfinal series at Lindsay Lane. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Donoho’s Blake Sewell allowed just four hits in seven innings in Game 1 of Wednesday’s Class 2A quarterfinal series at Lindsay Lane. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Three Donoho errors played a role in Game 2, which saw Donoho lead 3-0 early. The Falcons were within 6-4 until Lindsay Lane’s nine-run sixth inning.

Lindsay Lane pitcher Ray Anderson dominated. The Northwest Shoals Community College signee matched Sewell’s four-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk in Game 1. The 101 pitches he threw in Game 1 left him room to come back and close in the final inning of Game 2, and he added two strikeouts on the day.

It wasn’t the best day for a team that finished 23-5 and ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, after a forced move up from 1A by way of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s competitive-balance rule for private schools.

The best news for Donoho is that all but the two seniors project to return. Returnees will include all of Donoho’s starting pitchers. That includes Peyton Webb, who also set season and career school records for home runs.

Graduation losses include Sean Keel, who got an at bat during the Falcons’ have of the sixth inning.

Elliott has been a regular part of the action dating back to 2019, when Donoho set then school history by reaching the quarterfinals. His time, which also includes the COVID-shortened season of 2020, includes four quarterfinal runs, two semifinal berths and one finals trip.

He and Gendron are the threads that run through it all.

“It’s been a joy watching him play,” Gendron said.

The two shared a handshake and hug as postgame conversations wound down Wednesday.

“Good job,” Gendron said to Elliott. “I enjoyed it. You’re a ballplayer, right?”

“Oh yeah,” Elliott said.

“Don’t change that,” Gendron said. “Don’t change that. Keep that with you.”

Elliott composed himself for one last press interview as a high school player.

“I’ve seen a lot of guys come and go before me,” he said. “I just want to leave my legacy. I hope I did good, showing these guys something to follow, instead of just rules to follow, kind of guidelines and how to play the game, how to act in the dugout, how to act toward other guys and sportsmanship.”

Game details

Game 1

–B3: Lindsay Lane scores two, leads Donoho 2-0.
–B5: LL adds a run on Ben Frasier’s RBI double, leads Donoho 3-0; Jackson Carter RBI single makes it 4-0.
FINAL: Lindsay Lane wins Game 1 4-0. Game 2 to follow.

Game 2

–B1: Lucas Elliott’s grounder plates Marcus Lawler from third, and an error helps runners advance to second and third. Donoho leads 1-0; Hayes Farrell’s RBI single puts Donoho up 2-0.
–B2: An error on Peyton Webb’s bases-loaded grounder gets a run home for Donoho … 3-0.
–T3: Falcons bobble Seth Mitchell’s hard-hit grounder, and Lindsay Lane scores a run to close within 3-1; Ray Anderson’s two-run double ties it, 3-3; Trey Perkins’ RBI single gives LL a 4-3 lead; add a two-run single for Jackson Carter … 6-3, LL; Donoho makes a pitching change … Nic Thompson for Webb; Thompson strikes out two batters to work out of a bases-loaded jam, but Donoho trails 6-3.
–T4: Donoho turns a bases-loaded double play to prevent more damage. Still 6-3.
–B4: Double steal and bad throw gets Lucas Elliott home. Donoho within 6-4.
–T5: Thompson induces a short pop from Anderson to work out of another bases-loaded jam. Still 6-4.
–T6: A two-base throwing error and Perkins’ squeeze bunt put Lindsay Lane up 7-4; Bryson Looney’s RBI single makes it 8-4; Lane Jones’ single makes it 8-4; make it 9-4; Alexander Cook two-run single, 11-4; bases-loaded walk … 12-4; after Marcus Lawler comes in to pitch, Perkins hits a two-run single … 14-4; bases-loaded walk … 15-4.
–B6: Kai Cleckler sac fly gets Donoho a run … 15-5.
FINAL: Donoho falls 15-5. [read more sports stories…]

 

Cover photo: Senior Lucas Elliott (left) and Donoho coach Steve Gendron have a moment following the Falcons’ season-ending, Class 2A quarterfinal series at Lindsay Lane on Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Cover photo: Senior Lucas Elliott (left) and Donoho coach Steve Gendron have a moment following the Falcons’ season-ending, Class 2A quarterfinal series at Lindsay Lane on Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

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