State 4-peat the goal of Pharr, Warriors after sweep of Columbia

If all goes as planned, Tommy Pharr’s Christian Academy of Knoxville Warriors will be playing for a fourth consecutive TSSAA baseball state championship — third straight in Division II-A — today (Thursday, May 27) in Murfreesboro (after deadline).

Junior relief pitcher Ryan Degges made amends for giving up the go-ahead run, 1-0, in the ninth-inning of game one in the best-of-three playoff series versus Columbia Academy (32-9) at CAK Thursday, May 20.

Seven innings of near flawless, shutout pitching by starter Bay Griffin (no runs and one hit allowed with 10 strikeouts) seemed to be lost — until Degges led off the bottom of the ninth with a tying solo home run, then finished a three-inning pitching victory, 2-1, with five strikeouts and just one run and two hits allowed.

Columbia’s pitcher “left me one, and I just ran into it pretty good,” Degges said of the win in 10 innings, as a two-out double from Wesley Alig came before Luke Harms’ game-winning walk-off single.

“I spun it really well,” Griffin said, adding the rally “just speaks to the culture coach Pharr has built.”

“Ryan was big, he answered back,” Pharr said. “... I told Luke Harms, ‘you’ve been clutch since you were a freshman. ... Bay Griffin is a stud; he is an awesome kid. ... I could not be happier for him.”

A late explosion of runs in game two led to a CAK sweep May 20, 10-2, as the Warriors (32-8) got homers from Degges and Ty Nettles and two hits from Tyler Jenkins. Winning pitcher JD Price in six innings: two earned runs, six hits, six strikeouts and one walk.