Hardin Valley Academy baseball head coach Tyler Roach isn’t one to panic. Even when enduring a rough inning early.
Roach and the Hawks could’ve hit the panic button when they fell behind rival Farragut last week. But they didn’t, even after a tough first inning.
“With this group, I’ve never felt out of a ballgame all year,” Roach said after the Hawks notched an 8-6 comeback victory over Farragut Wednesday, April 12, at FHS’s John Heatherly Field at the Ballpark at Farragut. “They’ve made my job easy.
“I’m sitting over there cracking jokes with our assistant coaches, laughing because I trust our guys. We were fine, relaxed.”
The Hawks (17-2 overall, 5-2 in District 4-4A) fell behind 5-0 in the first and erased a 6-1 deficit by scoring seven runs over the final two innings to record a season sweep of the Admirals (18-5, 4-3) at deadline.
Farragut scored five runs off HVA starter Micah Hoffmeister in the first as Jett Johnston, third baseman and Texas A&M commitment, hit a grand slam to make it 5-0.Jake Merrick had an RBI single to begin things.
The Hawks pulled to within 5-1 in the third.
Jaxon Jones led off the frame with a double. He would come home when Caleb Neely reached on a fielder’s choice.
Landis Davila homered in the bottom of the fourth to make it 6-1.
Meanwhile, Farragut left-hander Ashton Sulack was cruising.
The Tennessee Vols commitment surrendered just one run and one hit through five innings before things got crazy.
HVA catcher Ty Denton led off the sixth with a double before a home run by Will Webb pulled the Hawks to within 6-3. Sulack then walked Jacob Dillon, the last batter he faced.
Reid Thomason then entered the game and was greeted rudely by Austin Bolding, who promptly clubbed a two-run homer to make the score 6-5.
Two outs later, the Hawks took the lead on a two-run double by Carson Hoffmeister, making itn7-6 HVA.
Colton Denton relieved Micah Hoffmeister and kept the Admirals off the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest after entering the game in the fifth, though he walked Johnston and Gavin Brewer, the first two batters he faced.
“Nerves got to me a little bit, but I knew I had to come in and just throw my stuff and let the defense work,” Colton Denton said.
The reliever retired the Ads in order in the sixth before the Hawks picked up an insurance run when Dillon came home on a wild pitch.
Farragut sent the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh as Merrick reached on an error and Brewer walked before a strikeout ended the game.
HVA, which defeated the Admirals 9-2 at home earlier in the season, was alone in first place in the district standings before a loss to Maryvile Monday, April 17.
Farragut head coach Matt Buckner was frustrated following his team’s third league loss of the 2023 campaign.
“We’ve got to start doing things a little better,” he said. “Last year, we had a great run and played mature baseball.
“We’re still right there. I don’t think they’re that much better than us, but at the same time they’ve beaten us twice, so that makes them better than us,” the Admirals skipper added.
“Right now, that’s where we’re at, but we’ve got a lot of season left. Hopefully, we can get this thing going in the right direction because we haven’t played very good. We haven’t played very well all year.”