Diamond Ads No.1 in 4-AAA league again heading into tourney

Rivals Bearden and Farragut renewed acquaintances on the baseball diamond Friday night, April 27.

The game was designated as non-district, but no luster was lost from this long-time rivalry.

“It’s always nice to beat those guys,” Farragut center fielder Brad Grenkoski, a junior, said after the Ads posted a 12-3 victory over the Bulldogs at John Heatherly Field/the Ballpark in Farragut.

The Admirals, District 4-AAA regular season champions (9-3), finished the regular season 29-7.

As fate would have it, the game proved to be a significant one in FHS’s storied baseball history — it was career win No. 500 for Admirals head coach Matt Buckner. (See related story in Sports).

The evening also was a celebration of breast cancer survivors while promoting breast cancer awareness.

Also celebrated was the 1988 Admirals team, Class AAA state runner-ups, who held a 30-year reunion (See West Side Faces, page 8B).

Once the game got under way things heated up, and Farragut starting pitcher Landon Smiddy wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the second inning.

Jacob Balsley reached on an error with one out. Matt Schultz and Patrick Boles had consecutive singles for the Bulldogs (who edged William Blount 2-1 Saturday, April 28, to finish 15-15) with two down before Smiddy ended the threat with a strikeout.

“We left a lot of guys on base,” Bearden head coach John Rice said. “We had our chances. We left the bases loaded there in the second and then we left two on a couple of times.”

Farragut broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the second. Grenkoski started things with a one-out triple. He scored when Myles McFerran singled. McFerran scored when Alec Nussbaum singled. An RBI double by Parker Noland plated the Farragut first baseman with the third run.

“We’re hitting well and we played well today,” Grenkoski said. “Hopefully, we can win the district (tournament) and maybe we can win the state.”

The Bulldogs answered and tied the game in the top of the fourth thanks to a two-run double by Nate Adkins and an RBI single by Schultz that plated Balsley.

The Admirals broke things open in the bottom of the fourth when they sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven times. Jerry Hammons had a two-run double. Grenkoski also knocked in a pair of runs with a single. McFerran had an RBI single and Noland drew a bases-loaded walk for Farragut, which scored another run with the help of a Bearden miscue.

In the fifth, Ashton King walked and scored on a wild pitch and Hammons knocked in the final run with a sacrifice fly.