CAK baseball ‘plugging away’

Heading into the Hoover Buccaneer Classic on Friday, April 1, Christian Academy of Knoxville’s Warriors baseball team had only one loss, 7-0 to Clarksdale (Mississippi) High School, at the Alabama tournament.

Its record stood at 10-1-1.

The event at Hoover wasn’t kind to the Warriors, as CAK lost all three games. The competition, however, was fierce. All three opponents were among the top teams in Alabama. Two of the three losses were close.   

“They’re some of the best teams in the state of Alabama,” CAK coach Tommy Pharr said.

Since then, all CAK has done is win five in a row by a combined score of 43-11. Heading into this week, the Warriors are tied with The King’s Academy at 4-0 in District 1 of 1A, East Region. 

Pharr said he is pleased with his squad but thinks they are still a work in progress.  

“We’re going through some growing pains, but I think we’ve got a good group,” Pharr said. “We’ve played well at times and played poorly at times. Hopefully we’re getting better.”

The Warriors’ hitting certainly has been solid. Three players — Walker Strange, Tyler Jenkins and Tyler Bennett — all are hitting well above .300. Bennett Rhymer is hitting almost .500, and Evan Cage an eye-popping .510.

“Our top four or five guys are all pretty good,” Pharr said.

The team’s batting average is a strong .342. Power hitting, however, isn’t the Warriors’ primary route to scoring runs. The team only has 11 home runs for the season.

“We don’t hit many home runs,” Pharr said. “We don’t have a ton of power.” 

The pitching has more than held its own, throwing six shutouts and giving up an average of only 2.6 runs per game. Last Monday, April 4, Simon Tesh, a Belmont signee, threw a complete-game no hitter against Lakeway Christian. 

The team ERA is a stingy 2.91. The staff is giving up fewer than two earned runs per game. 

“All our pitchers have done a pretty good job, but (Tesh) probably stands out,” Pharr said. “We’ve pitched well and we’ve played good defense.”

The district title is likely to come down to the Warriors’ two-game set against The King’s Academy on Monday and Tuesday, April 25 and April 26. 

“Plugging along, just trying to stay after it,” Pharr said. “They’ve worked hard. I think we’re getting better as we go.”