Farragut High School’s softball team kept its perfect District 4-AAA record intact late last week, as it held off a surge from league and Turkey Creek area rival Hardin Valley Academy.
The Lady Ads got off to a fast start, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning en route to capturing an 8-6 victory Thursday, April 1, on a cold evening at Bellamy Field.
FHS handed Hardin Valley (12-2 overeall) its first league loss of the season (4-1).
The Lady Ads continued their trend of scoring in the first inning. Center fielder “Ace” Strickland led off the frame for Farragut (9-1, 5-0) with a walk. She stole second and third and swiped home to give the Lady Ads a 1-0 lead.
Hardin Valley starting pitcher Denver Hogrefe then issued free passes to Sarah Livingston and Cameron Young before surrendering a three-run homer to Lady Admirals’ first baseman Lauren Brakovec, which gave FHS the early 4-0 advantage.
FHS head coach Nick Green said scoring early has been a key for his squad early this year.
“At this point, we’ve scored in the first inning of every game except for the one we lost,” he said.
The Lady Hawks, however would show their trademark resilience and score three runs in the top of the third, despite getting just one hit in the inning, a two-run double by Bella Leto.
Hardin Valley would take advantage of some wildness from Farragut junior left-hander Avery Flatford, who walked three batters and hit another in the inning before striking out the side.
HVA’s other run in the frame came home when Hogrefe drew a bases-loaded walk that plated left fielder Brooke Taylor.
Flatford exited the game after giving up three runs in the third. She had seven strikeouts, six walks and hit a batter. She surrendered just one hit.
“Hardin Valley did a great job coming back, but we did them a lot of favors,” Green said. “We gave them a lot of walks. Other than the walks, our pitchers did a pretty good job.”
Flatford gave way to Emma MacTavish, who walked two and surrendered five hits while fanning three en route to recording the victory in a four-inning outing.
FHS extended its lead to 6-3 in the third inning as shortstop Ava Guzowski clubbed a two-run homer.
Guzowski had two-hits, including a first-inning triple. Strickland reached base three times, scoring a pair of runs and swiping four bases on a night when at least seven FHS players got at least one hit.
“We’ve got a good lineup. Everybody can hit and everybody can run,” Green said.
Farragut went up 8-3 in the fourth when Livingston doubled home Strickland, and later came home on an error by the Lady Hawks.
But HVA had its own resilience on this night, as the Lady Hawks scored a run in the fifth thanks to a bases-loaded walk drawn by Annie McCormick to make it 8-4.
They would add two more in the sixth when Gracie Gray came up with an RBI double and Leto had a scoring single.
“They’ve got a lot of heart, and I love that about this team,” Hardin Valley head coach Whitney Hickam-Cruze said.
“We need to be playing our best ball at the end of the season. They know what the end game is,” she added.
“I’m so proud of their heart and effort. They’ve had a ‘not-let-up mentality’ all year.”