2nd straight at state

Flatford frustrates all foes, again, as Farragut softball rolls through Tennessee field

  • roudly holding their TSSAA softball state title trophy are Farragut seniors, from left, Emily Musco, Lauren Brakovec and Autumn Caywood after blanking Clarksville 4-0 to become back-to-back state champs Saturday, May 28, at the Starplex Fields in Murfreesboro. Leading the way was All-State pitcher and staff ace Avery Flatford - Alan Sloan

  • who gets a hug from Musco. The lefty was overpowering in four state tourney games, finishing her Farragut career with a 23-1 record this season. - Alan Sloan

  • Getting used to posing with softball state championship trophies — this year in the new Class 4A — is the Farragut Lady Admirals. - Alan Sloan

MURFREESBORO — Softball hitters in TSSAA’s largest public school classification had to endure another year of Flatford frustration.

Avery Flatford, Farragut High School’s outstanding senior southpaw pitcher, allowed just two earned runs and 12 hits in 24 innings (four state tourney games) with 40 strikeouts, leading her Lady Ads (43-3-1) to back-to-back state titles — this year in the new Class 4A — after disposing of Clarksville 4-0 Saturday evening, May 28, at the StarPlex Softball Complex.

“She was, again, lights out today,” FHS head coach Nick Green said of Flatford (23-1 this season). “She had her swing-and-miss stuff today (10 strikeouts with only one hit allowed in seven innings).

In short, “She has to be one of — if not the — top pitcher in Farragut High School history,” the coach added.

“This year I feel like we had more experience, every single one of us,” Flatford said after the celebration. “I’m sure we proved it in this tournament.

“We had different challenges this year, but we were able to pull through,” she added.

About being prepared to repeat at state, Green said a regular season loss to rival Bearden “kind of got us back on track and re-focused.”

Then a surprising District 4-4A tourney loss to Maryville “probably did the same thing,” he added.

Also important in the winning process is Green “trying to display a nice, calm demeanor. ... Because I want (my players) to be calm,” he said. “If I’m nervous you’re going to be nervous.”

Defensively in the post-season, “We were outstanding,” Green added.

Team focus “wasn’t really to win state again. Like coach said, ‘we just want to win our last game,’” said senior designated player Lauren Brakovec, District 4-4A League MVP.

“We just talk about winning the last game, that’s our goal,” senior second baseman Emily Musco said. “The fact that we won our last game hasn’t set in.”

Catcher Autumn Caywood, one of six starting Lady Ads seniors, belted an RBI double in the top of the fourth inning in the deciding game, scoring Brakovec, who began the inning with a double. It was 1-0.

“We work so well together; we’re like a well-oiled machine,” Caywood said.

Addison Pressley’s fifth-inning ground-out scored Laney Shrader. Senior right fielder Vivian Boles was driven home by Ava Guzowski’s bloop RBI single to right field.

Musco singled in the sixth inning before scoring on a Shrader single, making it 4-0.

The state tourney highlight for Boles, senior right fielder, and Hailey Nichols, sophomore first baseman, were a pair of two-hit games, including an 11-0 winner’s bracket victory, also against Clarksville, Thursday, May 26.

“The hardest part was trying to (deal with) the expectations after last year,” Boles said. “We just kept setting little goals along the way.”

Guzowski led the way offensively in this game with a home run among her three his and four RBI. Musco and Pressley also connected for two hits apiece.

Sarah Livingston, senior centerfielder who batted above .500 in 4-4A league play, belted two hits in helping FHS whip Springfield 11-2 in the second-round Wednesday, May 25.

“It’s exciting to win it back-to-back after we struggled a little bit” early in the playoffs, Livingston said.

Against Springfield, Caywood led with three hits, which included smacking a three-run homer, while Pressley, Guzowski, Boles and Nichols also added two hits each.

Flatford’s other complete-game shutout came in the tourney opener versus Stewarts Creek (3-0 win), allowing three hits while striking out 16.

Emma MacTavish, sophomore reliever in the state tourney who went 20-2-1 as a Lady Ads stating pitcher for the season, took the mound for one inning each versus Springfield and the first Clarksville game: no runs, one hit, one strikeout.