Farragut High School appeared poised to record an easy victory over Pigeon Forge Friday night, March 24. The Tigers, however, had other ideas.
The Admirals, who jumped out to an 8-1 lead, had to survive a 6-run seventh inning against Pigeon Forge at John Heatherly Field, the Ballpark at Farragut.
. Farragut held on for an 8-7 victory over the pesky Tigers despite seeing its bullpen surrender four walks, a hit batter and a three-run homer.
“Aside from the seventh inning, our pitchers threw the ball pretty well,” FHS head coach Matt Buckner said. “We got a chance to see a lot of our pitchers, and any time you do that, you take the chance that you’ll have a bad outing in there.
Reliever Justen Freeman recorded the last two outs of the contest. The senior, however, gave up a grand slam homer to Pigeon Forge catcher Kendall Rolen before retiring Bryson Sullivan to end the game.
The Admirals (9-1) used six pitchers in the game. Landon Smiddy started and hurled two scoreless innings. He gave up a walk and a hit. Collin Grove and Jake Hagenow each threw an inning and Cade Burkey went two before Noland and Freeman pitched in the seventh.
After a scoreless first inning, the Ads got on the board in the second. Freeman had a leadoff single and later score on a wild pitch to make it 1-0.
Farragut would extend its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third. Hagenow made the score 2-0 when he blasted a solo home run. Freeman reached on an error and later scored on a double by designated hitter Zach Yunger, who had three hits against Pigeon Forge (4-3)..
The Admirals added a run in the bottom of the frame when Noland doubled in Chandler Chambers, who reached on a bunt single with one out.
FHS extended its advantage to 6-1 with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Younger singled and advanced on a wild pitch. He scored on a double by Burkey. Burkey stole third and scored when Brad Grankoski singled.
In the sixth, Hagenow an RBI triple and Freeman knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to give the Admirals an 8-1 lead.
Hagenow went 2-for-3 with a walk, a homer, a triple, a run. He also drove in a run.
“Jake’s killing the ball,” Buckner said. “He just murdered the ball tonight.”
Hagenow said he was seeing the ball well.
“I’m seeing the ball pretty well, I guess,” he said.
The senior also noted that things got a little sloppy in the seventh.
“I think we finished the game and it was a little messier than we would’ve liked it to be,” Hagenow said. “The good thing about this is that it’s one of those non-conference games and we got to play a lot of players.”
Pigeon Forge coach Mike Guinn said he was pleased with his squad’s late rally against the Admirals.
“We love to come down here and play because we know that when we play Farragut, that we will get better. Coach Buckner is a great friend of mine. He does things the right way,” Guinn said. “We always have good games here.
For four innings, this was a tight ballgame. Then, I think we let things get away from us. But our kids didn’t quit. They hung in there and I was proud of them for doing that.”