"Sequoyah Stonecipher is the latest in a long line of prominent prospects
from San Diego's Mission Bay High School. He has a quick bat with
exceptional hand-eye coordination and an aggressive, all-out approach.
Sequoyah is an exceptional outfielder who can cover a lot of ground. As a
freshman, Sequoyah batted .400 for Mission Bay’s No. 36 nationally ranked
team. Last season he came into his own as he posted a .311 batting average
with two home runs and 11 RBI’s. He also showed everyone why is a top
prospect by his play on the USA Youth National team. He helped lead the
United States to a silver medal in Mexico where he also recorded the second
most hits in Youth National team history as he went 17-for-36 (.472) during
the tournament. Sequoyah’s coach at Mission Bay, Dennis Pugh, is also the
head coach of the Aflac All-American West Team. This past season Sequoyah
batted .429 in leading his team to a 27-6 record. When not playing baseball
Sequoyah is an avid surfer and artist as his work has been displayed in
galleries around San Diego. Sequoyah has verbally committed to play baseball
at University of San Diego."
Showcase: "Stonecipher is a polished outfielder, capable of playing all
three OF positions. At the plate he has excellent bat speed and loft type
power. In the long run he looks like his bat will play at a corner OF
position and his defensive abilities should make him a well above average
Louisville Slugger High School Pre-Season All-American
Playing Baseball with a Regal Name
By Tom Shanahan
Tuesday, August 8, 2006 | His name is Sequoyah Stonecipher, and
the San Diego kid with the unique identity and uncommon baseball talent is
one of the best high school players in the nation. A year from now he could
be a high draft pick and a rich young man.
No, he wasn’t named for a California tree. That’s a question he often
hears, never mind the difference in spelling.
Yes, he’s a surfer and his dad, Bill, owns Rocky’s, an Ocean Beach surf
shop. But, no, Bill Stonecipher didn’t saddle his son with some off-the-wall
“Sequoyah” has a much more regal history than any identity taken from
Southern California beach culture.
His full name is Sequoyah Trueblood Stonecipher. He was named for his great
grandfather on his mother’s side n Sequoyah Evonne Trueblood, a Choctaw and
Chickashee Indian from Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma and parts of Arkansas, Sequoyah is a familiar name for an
historic figure. In the early 1800s, Sequoyah created the Cherokee syllabary
and taught thousands of Native Americans to read and write their language.
“Everyday people ask me about my name,” said Stonecipher, whose father’s
German surname coincidentally has an Indian ring to it. “I think it’s a cool
I do too. And I think -- if Stonecipher continues his rapid rise up
baseball’s ladder toward pro opportunities -- other people will increasingly
ask him about Jim Thorpe, Louis Sockalexis and the use of Indian nicknames
and mascots for American sports teams.
Sequoyah, an outfielder from Mission Bay High, and Nick Noonan, a Francis
Parker shortstop, are two San Diegans named among the top 38 players in the
nation for the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic at noon on
Saturday at San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn Stadium.
The Aflac game is for seniors-in-the fall and is baseball’s version of the
McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game. You don’t get picked
for the Aflac game unless you’re projected to have major league potential.
Thorpe played some major league baseball, although he’s better known as
the 1912 Olympic decathlon champion and a Carlisle Indians football player.
He was later stripped of his gold medal when it was learned he had played
some semi-pro baseball, but upon presenting Thorpe with his gold medal, King
Olav of Sweden told him, “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”
Sockalexis batted .338 in 1897 for the then-Cleveland Spiders. In 1915, two
years after his death, the Cleveland team renamed itself the Cleveland
Indians. Years later, when the franchise first came under fire with charges
of racism for using Indians as a nickname and a Chief Wahoo as a mascot, the
club claimed it took the nickname to honor Sockalexis. Critics contend it’s
a convenient story used by the team.
Ann Stonecipher, Sequoyah’s mother, was born in Oklahoma but moved to San
Diego with her family when she was 12. She said her father is passionate
about Native American history. He has taught her two boys -- Sequoyah’s
older brother is named for their father -- about Indian culture. He has
served on local and national Indian boards and participated in many
conferences. Ann also took the boys to powwows on Barona land when they were
But Ann said her father doesn’t have strong feelings either way concerning
Indian mascots and nicknames. He concerns himself with other Indian issues.
That attitude has been passed down to his daughter and from mother to her
Sequoyah would like to be someday questioned on these subjects, because that
would mean he made it to the major leagues.
“There haven’t been too many Native Americans who have played in the
major leagues,” he said. “I think it would be an honor for me.”
Last summer Stonecipher, who doesn’t turn 17 until Nov. 19 of his senior
year, made the USA Youth National Team for players 16-and-younger. The
Americans brought home a silver medal from the World Youth Championships in
This summer Stonecipher also made the cut at tryouts for the USA Baseball
Junior National Team that will play in the World Junior Championships in
Cuba in September. Remember, he’s four months shy of his 17th birthday while
competing against players who have already turned 18.
Stonecipher already gave the University of San Diego an oral commitment, and
his young age suggests he’s better off spending time in college than in a
rookie league with some not-too-bright teammates in the hinterlands.
Dennis Pugh, who coached at Mission Bay 27 years before leaving for Cal
State San Marcos next year, is the head coach of the Aflac West team. Pugh
has coached Stonecipher, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder, on the Mission Bay varsity
the past three years.
“Stoney has a baseball body with wide shoulders,” Pugh said. “He has a very
athletic body that is going to fill out. He’s got an arm and he can hit for
power. He probably had more outfield assists than any player I’ve ever had.
He not only has a strong throwing arm, he’s accurate.”
Newspaper writers look for the easy angle and TV reporters for a quick sound
bite, but I don’t think he’s the type to feel pressure from attention. When
he tires of baseball he lets off steam by hitting the waves.
“You never know which kids are going to make it to the majors,” said Pugh,
who has had his fair share of players drafted. “But he has other interests,
so he’s not going to burn out on baseball.”
His friends call him Stoney or Q. Mom, of course, calls him Sequoyah.
The more he masters the game of baseball, the more his name will force him
to examine the history of Native Americans in sports. History’s Sequoyah
Tom Shanahan is voiceofsandiego.org's sports columnist. He is the media
coordinator for the San Diego Hall of Champions. Send
a letter to the editor.
"Mission Bay High outfielder Sequoyah
Stonecipher, one of the top junior baseball players in the nation, has
agreed to keep a diary for the Hall of Champions leading up to the Aflac
All-American High School Baseball Classic at noon on Aug. 12 at San Diego
State's Tony Gwynn Stadium. Stonecipher and Francis Parker shortstop Nick
Noonan were selected for the fourth annual Aflac game. The Classic matches
38 players considered the best in the nation in the Class of 2007 in an East
vs. West format"
- Sequoyah Stonecipher’s Aflac All-American High School Baseball
- July 18, 2006
The Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic is less than a month
away and I’m excited about playing in the game. It’s a great honor to be
picked -- some great players have played in it.
I talked to Sean O’Sullivan – he played in the 2004 game from Valhalla
and is now pitching in the Anaheim Angels organization – and he told me it
was the best experience he had in amateur baseball.
But before August arrives, it has already been a busy summer of baseball
for me. In fact, this has been my busiest summer of baseball.
After the high school season, I usually take a break from baseball. My
parents have never been the type to push me into playing all the time. I
live in Ocean Beach and my dad has a surf shop, Rocky’s Surf Shop. So I like
to surf and hit the beach to relax.
But the summer before your senior year is when a lot of the evaluating
takes place from college coaches for scholarship opportunities and from pro
scouts for the amateur draft in June 2007. We made the decision I would play
in the Aflac game and attend some of the other elite events this summer.
Since my high school season at Mission Bay ended with a loss in the CIF
San Diego Section Division III semifinals, I’ve been to three elite events:
the Perfect Game National Showcase in Fayetteville, Ark.; USA Baseball
Junior National tryouts in Joplin, Mo.; and the World Wood Bat Association
tournament in Atlanta.
They were great experiences, and I’ll tell you more about them later. But
first I should tell you I’ve already made my oral commitment for college.
I don’t know for sure what pro scouts are thinking about me, but I’ve
decided to commit to the University of San Diego. I plan to sign a national
letter-of-intent in November, the first day the NCAA permits us to do so,
with Coach Rich Hill and the Toreros.
I’m excited about the program Coach Hill is building at USD. He’s
recruited good talent and USD has been to the NCAA tournament three of the
last five years. It’s an up-and-coming program. Coach Hill says he’s looking
for the next group of players who can take the Toreros to the next level –
the College World Series.
I would love to be part of my recruiting class helping USD advance to its
first College World Series in Omaha, Neb., annual site of the CWS. But I
still have my senior year of high school to play, and USD has enough talent
returning that the Toreros might get to Omaha before me.
I love the idea of playing in my hometown and USD has a beautiful campus.
It’s a great school and a great baseball school. I want to play in the Major
Leagues, but if pro baseball doesn’t work out for me, I know I’ll get a
great education at USD.
- July 26, 2006
I don’t have to tell you that it’s been hot in San Diego lately, but you
don’t know what “hot” is until you’ve spent a good part of your summer in
Arkansas, Missouri and Georgia. That’s what I did at the end of June and
into early July.
Of course, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play baseball in
those places for three elite events, so I shouldn’t sound like I’m
complaining. But San Diegans don’t know real heat and humidity until they’ve
been in the South in the summer.
I was in Fayetteville, Ark., for the Perfect Game National Showcase and
then my dad and I drove to Joplin, Mo., for the USA Baseball Junior National
team tryouts. We came home briefly before we flew to Atlanta, Ga., for the
World Wood Bat Association tournament.
The first two events were by invitations for about 200 guys. The Atlanta
event was club team tournament and I played with my club team from Anaheim,
the ABD Bulldogs.
All three events were great experiences because you get a chance to play
against the best competition in the nation and we play with wood bats
instead of metal that we use in high school.
The biggest difference at these elite tournaments is you see more
pitchers who can throw 90 miles-per-hour. In high school baseball, I might
face one or two guys who can throw in the high 80s, but at these events it
seemed like everybody was throwing in the 90s. It was quite a challenge.
In Fayetteville, nobody was hitting the pitching, but I hit better at the
USA Baseball Junior National team tryouts in Joplin. It was more of a
hitter’s place. The games were longer and you got more at bats so more of
chance to get into a groove.
In Joplin, the whole town embraces the USA Junior National Team tryouts.
USA Baseball runs the tryouts, but we stay with families in town for the
I made the cut from 200-plus guys to 32 for the U.S. Junior National team
– it’s for players 18-and-under -- that will play in the Junior World
Championships Sept. 17-28 in Cuba. The 32 players return to Atlanta Sept. 6
for more trials before the final team cut to 18 is made.
Last summer I was on the USA Baseball Youth National team that played in
the world Youth National Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. It's for
players 15-and-under and I was eligible since I was still only 15 last
summer. I don't turn 17 until this November of my senior year.
Our Youth National Team brought home the silver medal after we got beat
by Cuba. So I’ve used wood at these elite summer national team events
before, but never as much as this summer.
Actually, I like playing with wood. I think a wood bat shows who are the
best hitters. You don’t have as large of a sweet spot with a wood bat as you
do with a metal bat. The metal bats are lighter so you can miss the sweet
spot and still get a hit. But with a wood bat you have to hit it square and
that makes it more of a challenge.
I heard some guys talk about how they struggle going from a metal bat in
high school to a wood bat in the summer. But I haven’t had a problem. When
you connect for a good, hard hit with a wood bat, it feels so much better.
It feels more comfortable.
It feels even better without the heat and humidity, but don’t think I
brought Atlanta’s weather with me back to San Diego.
- August 3, 2006
Everyday I have people ask me about my unusual name. I think it’s a cool
My full name might give you a better idea of my heritage – Sequoyah
Trueblood Stonecipher. My mother, Ann Stonecipher, is one-quarter Choctaw
Indian, a tribe in Oklahoma. That makes me one-eighth Choctaw, and I’m very
proud of the bloodlines.
Stonecipher also has an Indian sound to it, but my father, Bill, is
German. He guesses that the name’s spelling was changed when his forefathers
came to America from Germany.
My mother named me for my great grandfather – Sequoyah Evonne Trueblood.
He was a Choctaw and Chickashee Indian in Oklahoma, where my mom lived until
she moved to San Diego with her family.
Sequoyah is actually a recognized and historic name in Oklahoma and parts
of Arkansas. In the 1800s, Sequoyah was an influential Cherokee Indian who
developed the tribe’s first written language.
My mom says that after she and my dad named my older brother William
Benjamin Stonecipher III, she thought about naming their next child for her
Indian heritage. She always loved the name Sequoyah Trueblood, but she
feared Sequoyah Trueblood Stonecipher was too many letters.
When I was born, though, she received a phone call from one of her
cousins in Oklahoma. She was reminded that my birthday, Nov. 16, was the
same date as a great uncle also named Sequoyah Evonne Trueblood. That made
up her mind, and I’m glad my parents gave me the name.
I’m very proud of my Indian heritage. When I was younger, my brother and
I learned a lot about our heritage from my grandfather. He taught us how to
make medicine bags and we would make drawings. My mom also used to take us
to powwows on Barona land.
Baseball takes up most of my time now, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost
interest in my Indian heritage.
Jim Thorpe, of course, is the most famous Indian athlete. He played in
the Major Leagues, although he’s best known as an Olympic decathlon champion
and football player with the Carlisle Indians.
I’ve been told that the higher my baseball career progresses, the more
I’ll be asked about American sports teams using Indians as mascots such as
the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves in baseball or the Washington
Redskins in football.
My mother says her father never expressed strong feelings on the subject,
so my family doesn’t feel demeaned by the use of Indian mascots. But they
also don’t feel any special pride such as the Seminole Indians have stated
in defense of Florida State University using the Seminoles as their mascot.
I hope someday I’m asked a lot of questions about Indian mascots, because
that will mean I made it to the Major Leagues and people will want to hear
what I say. But I still have long way to go before I can think about my
dream of playing Major League baseball.
Right now the only thing on my mind is the Area Code Games Aug. 5-10 at
USC and then the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic at noon
Aug. 12 at San Diego State’s Tony Gwynn Stadium.