Coaches, players wind down by teaching baseball

It’s late spring and early June and the 2016 high school baseball season has been in the rear-view mirror for the last couple of weeks.

Farragut High School baseball team has just completed a 38-win season and recently returned from Murfreesboro and another trip to the Class AAA State Tournament.

It’s now officially the off-season but there’s plenty of action at John Heatherly Field at The Ballpark at Farragut.

No games are being played during the first full week of June but FHS head baseball coach Matt Buckner, his staff and the Admirals are hosting the school’s annual youth baseball camp.

Under the direction of the Farragut coaching staff, plus former and current players, young baseball players are participating in drills and moving from station to station in an effort to become better players and

hopefully one day donning an Admirals uniform and playing for one of Tennessee’s tradition-rich high school baseball programs.

On this day, Buckner is in the FHS team room using video to instruct the young baseball players the finer points of the art of hitting while his coaches and players are outside providing on-field instruction.

“This is always fun for me,” said Buckner, who recently guided Farragut to a Region 2-AAA Championship and a ninth consecutive trip to Murfreesboro. “Farragut is a great place and baseball is big in this community.

“This is a big thing in our community and I’m very fortunate to coach here where baseball means so much to this community. I love having these guys come here because they really love playing the game of baseball.”

The Farragut High players spend almost the entire calendar year to prepare for the

postseason and anything short of a trip to the Mid-state is usually a disappointment because Buckner and previous head coach Tommy Pharr have set the bar so high.

Expectations are always lofty between March and late-May and those standards force the players and coaches to prepare all year to play a top schedule.

Baseball is always conducted in a business-like manner for the Admirals (which went 38-8 in 2016 and had another successful season despite an early departure from the 2016 State Tournament). Farragut last won a title in 2014 and lost in the Class AAA State Championship game to District 4-AAA rival Hardin Valley Academy in 2015.

Most young players know the Admiral Baseball tradition and for those who don’t, a look at the

outfield fence serves as a history lesson.

These youngsters may dream of playing for the Admirals, but on this hot June Monday it’s a time for the community’s youth to learn the game from high school players and coaches.

“It’s great to come here and see all these kids who are interested in baseball,” said recent Farragut graduate Cole Morgan, who finished his prep career as a center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Admirals. “This is a chance for us to give back to the game.

“It’s a chance for us to teach young kids the game and some of these kids are the same kids who came to watch us play this year.”

Morgan, who will soon leave to attend school at the University of Alabama (where he will not play for the Crimson Tide), said that he remembers attending the baseball camp and also noted that the camp serves a purpose for the coaches as well.

“I remember coming here and learning from the high school players and from the coaches,” Morgan said. “For the coaches, this is a chance to teach the game and have fun. They love the game as much or more than we do.”

“It’s a chance for them to relax after a tough high school baseball season.”