Late Noland home run, solid pitching edges Hawks, lifts Ads into 4-AAA final

Throughout his career at Farragut High School, senior third baseman Parker Noland has come up with some clutch hits for the Admirals. Perhaps none loomed larger, however, than the one he got Monday night, May 6.

Noland’s solo home run that sailed over the left-centerfield fence in the bottom of the fifth inning propelled the Ads to a 2-1 victory over Hardin Valley Academy in the winners’ bracket final of the District 4-AAA Tournament before a packed and spirited house at John Heatherly Field/The Ballpark at Farragut.

Noland’s homer broke a 1-1 tie in a classic pitchers’ duel between HVA’s Lukas Cook and Farragut’s Owen Kovacs.

“It was a fastball,” Noland said. “I just hit it and it went over the fence.

“(Cook) is a good pitcher and he was throwing well all night.”

Noland’s round-tripper was one of only three Farragut hits on the night. But two of those knocks produced runs for the Admirals, who improved to 35-2 and advanced to next week’s Region 2-AAA Tournament with the win over the Hawks (19-12).

Designated hitter Hudson Seiglar had an RBI single in the bottom of the first frame that plated Ashton King, who was hit by a pitch before advancing to second on a wild pitch. He took third on a passed ball before coming home with the first run of the contest.

Farragut’s other hit was a single by catcher Ryan McCarthy, which also came in the fifth — but pinch runner Tanner Corum was gunned down at third on the play to end the inning.

Farragut head coach Matt Buckner was jovial after the game, embracing Noland after the Ads advanced and bounced the Hawks into the losers’ bracket.

“Parker is a great player. He comes in and works hard,” Buckner said. “He locks in every day.

“This was a great ballgame. We pitched well and we played good defense,” he added. “We didn’t have any errors up there — and Lukas through his end off.”

Cook, despite being tagged with the hard-luck loss, tossed a complete game. He allowed three hits and four walks. He also hit a batter while recording eight strikeouts.

Kovacs went six and allowed seven hits and two free passes. He struck out five before giving way to King, who hurled a scoreless seventh, allowing a hit and striking out one.

Despite seeing his team come up on the short end of a narrow decision, Hardin Valley head coach Tyler Roach said the two West Knox County rivals played a classic game for the ages.

“This was just a great game, and Lukas did a great job for us,” he said.

“We outhit them 7-3, but we just didn’t get that one big hit.”

The Hawks scored their run in the top of the fourth. Jaylen Jones drew a two-out walk before a Brycen Denton single and Archer Wong-Shasteen’s RBI single.

“What a game. This is the best Farragut game that I’ve ever played in,” said HVA senior catcher Cam Fisher, who doubled in the fifth inning.