Farragut makes early exit from state tourney

MURFREESBORO — Despite struggling throughout much of the postseason, Farragut High School baseball managed to win and make its ninth consecutive trip to the Class AAA State Tournament.

The Admirals, however, had a short stay at the Spring Fling. Farragut lost two of its three games at Oakland High School. The Admirals finished the 2016 campaign with a 38-8 record despite a pair of injuries to its pitching staff.

“You talk about pitching depth and we had a couple of guys get hurt and that probably hurt us a little,” Farragut coach Matt Buckner said. “But we went 38-8. We won a lot of ballgames.

“We won 38 games and that’s more than anybody else in the state, so really, it wasn’t that bad.”

Farragut won the District 4-AAA regular-season title but finished second in the postseason tournament to 2015 Class AAA State Champion Hardin Valley Academy (which beat the Admirals in Murfreesboro last year to win it all). Farragut used a three-run first inning to beat District 3-AAA Champ Karns 3-0 to make it to the Region 2-AAA Championship game. There, the Admirals had to come from behind to win 6-5 after falling behind the Panthers 5-0.

Farragut then routed Morristown East 13-0 to punch its ticket to the Midstate.

“We didn’t play very well, save for a couple of games, late in the year and I’ll take the blame for that,” Buckner said. “That’s on me.

“It wasn’t hitting or pitching or anything like that. We just weren’t playing our best baseball during the last three weeks. We have to do a better job getting them ready to play.”

Farragut opened its most recent stay in Murfreesboro with a 5-2 loss to Arlington.

There, the Admirals faced Tigers ace Hayden Edwards, who entered Middle Tennessee with an 11-0 record and Farragut couldn’t find a way to solve him.

Duncan Pence had a solo

home run and scored the Admirals’ other run after he was hit by a pitch.

Jake Hagenow had two hits for Farragut, which left the bases loaded in the third inning with the Tigers holding on to a narrow 3-2 lead.

Dylan Pacifico, Farragut’s senior ace, took the loss while giving up three runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Arlington, which lost to Siegel in the title game, picked up two insurance runs when Hunter Goodman doubled in the top of the seventh off FHS reliever John Painter.

The Admirals bounced back

to nab a 7-3 victory over Ravenwood in an elimination game.

In that game, Farragut scored a run in the top of the first The Raptors took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame.

The Admirals scored single runs in the second and the fifth before blowing things open with four runs in the top of the seventh.

Farragut roughed up Ravenwood’s pitching staff for 10 hits. Hagenow went 1-for-3 with a home run and three runs batted in. Carmelo Venero went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored and Justen Freeman had two hits and an RBI. Painter also had an RBI.

Pence picked up the win in relief of Danny Abel. Pence went 4 2/3 innings and had nine strikeouts. He surrendered a run, a hit and three walks.

The Admirals saw the 2016 season come to an end with a 9-4 loss to Stewarts Creek.

Despite going 1-2 in Murfreesboro, Buckner said that he was extremely proud of this outgoing senior class.

“This was a special group of 13 and it was led by Pence, Pacifico and Painter,” Buckner said. “They left a legacy at Farragut High School. That’s for sure.”

The Class of 2016 went to four state tournaments and won the state tournament in 2014. The seniors also posted runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2015.