A little extra work in the batting cage on a cold morning paid some dividends for Farragut High School senior baseball player Jake Hagenow.
“I’ve been struggling at the plate so I came in at 8 a.m. on a cold day and I did some extra work,” said Hagenow, a senior, who hit an early three-run homer to help lift the Admirals to a
13-3 five-inning victory over Mercer County (Ky.) in the DeMarini/Diamond Classic Sat-urday morning at John Heatherly Field at The Ballpark in Farragut. “We came in and it was cold. We had layers on when we got here.
“By the end of it, the layers were all off.”
Hagenow, who served as Farragut’s designated hitter, against Mercer County finished the game with two hits, a stolen base, a run and three runs batted in.
The weather was cold Saturday morning when the Admirals answered an early wake-up call but Farragut’s bats were anything but frigid. Farragut got to Titans starting pitcher Alex Gooch early. In a five-run inning, Farragut scored five times before Mercer County (6-5) ever recorded an out.
Center fielder Cole Morgan singled to lead off the bottom
of the first for Farragut (18-4). John Painter then walked. Duncan Pence gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead when his single plated Morgan with the game’s first run.
Hagenow’s three-run blast made it 4-0. Justen Freeman
followed with a single and
would later score when Gooch uncorked a wild pitch.
“It was good to get off to a fast start,” Farragut coach Matt Buckner said. “We played fine.
“This was our sixth game of the week and now we’ve got to get ready to go play a seventh over at Grace because we had a team drop out of the tournament.”
The Admirals would win that seventh game. FHS beat Warren County 9-1 thanks to a big fourth inning.
In its opening game Saturday, Farragut yielded a run to the Titans in the top of the second. Mercer County pulled to within 5-1 when Camden Martin drew a two-out bases loaded walk that enabled Ty Sims to come home. Sims, a center fielder, doubled to lead off the frame.
The Admirals would respond with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Pence singled and later swiped home on a delayed double steal and Freeman knocked in Farragut’s seventh run with a sacrifice fly.
In the third, FHS would get two runs when first baseman Cade Burkey blasted a two-run homer.
“It felt pretty good hitting that home run, especially after not swinging the bat well,” said Burkey, who also had an RBI single in the fourth. “It hit pretty well in our scrimmages but then I dropped off a little bit.
“I’m grateful to coach Buckner and I’m glad that he’s stuck with me. He’s not given up on me.”
The Titans scored a pair in the fifth as Gooch parked a two-run blast over the fence. His homer made the score 10-3.
The Admirals polished off the game with three runs in the bottom of the frame with some contributions from some reserves. Nate Clark had an RBI single. Kevin McCarthy scored when Freeman reached on an error. Carmelo Venero’s scoring single plated Clark with the run that ended the game.
Mercer County coach Jeremy Shope said he knew that his team was in for a long stay in the Volunteer State. The Titans played Bearden, Knoxville Catholic and the Admirals (Both were state finalists). Mercer County also played Bearden, which is a front runner in District 4-AAA, and Collierville.
“They got off to a really good start,” Shope said of the Admirals. “We played some great teams.
“We played Farragut, Knoxville Catholic and Bearden. We came here to play those teams. They will make us better and we have a schedule against those kinds of teams waiting for us when we get back home.”
The Admirals got a solid pitching performance from freshmen Owen Kovacs, who gave up three runs, five hits and two walks. He struck out five.
“He threw pretty well,” Buckner said of Kovacs. “He’s going to be a good one.”