The “any given day” gauntlet that is District 4-4A baseball was on display yet again last Wednesday evening, April 19, at Farragut High School’s John Heatherly Field/The Ballpark at Farragut.
After losing 2-0 to Bearden on the road April 3, the Admirals avenged the loss with an emphatic 7-0 win.
“When we play good, we’re a lot to handle,” Admirals’ skipper Matt Buckner said. “We just haven’t done things real well, especially in district games.”
On this evening, FHS did well both at the plate and on the mound.
Starting pitcher Ashton Sulack threw six shutout innings and allowed only four hits. He issued no walks and struck out 11.
“The guy’s coming into his own,” Buckner said. “Just scratching the surface of what he’s gonna be.”
“My fastball command was definitely one of the best it’s been,” said Sulack, a UT Volunteers commit. “I think (tonight is) the team we’ve always been. We just had to come out and do the job.”
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first, the Admirals made it 4-0 in the third. First, Jett Johnston’s double brought in Eli Evans, who got on on a fielder’s choice, then advanced to second on a passed ball. After Michael Delph walked, Johnston scored from second on a passed ball when the ball got away from the catcher trying to recover.
Delph advanced to second, then scored on Mark Underwood’s single.
“It wasn’t real clean,” Prichard said of Bearden’s several wild patches and passed balls. “But if you put up a zero it doesn’t matter. You gotta score.”
Three more runs in the fourth — on a walk, three hits, a sac fly and a sacrifice bunt — put the game long out of reach. FHS (5-3 in District 4-4A, 21-6 overall starting the week) pulled within one game of both Bearden and Hardin Valley Academy, who each had a district record of 6-2 entering the week.
For Buckner, his squad played up to his permanently high expectations. It hasn’t always been so this season.
“We need to start doing things a little better,” he said. “We’ve played better out of district against really good teams than in district.” The Admirals also lost both of its 4-4A games to rival Hardin Valley Academy.
“I’ve always felt we’re very capable of doing very good things,” Buckner added about his defending Class 4A state champions. “We have talented players. Early on we’ve lost focus. (Tonight) looked more like what I’ve expected us to be.”
Prichard took the loss in stride. “We control our fate,” he said. “We can still win this district. The tournament’s gonna matter.”
After beating Bearden, the Admirals went 2-1 to close out last week.
Hendersonville hosted FHS Friday, April 21, and were blanked 5-0.
Clarksville Academy, however, proved to be a tough nut to crack one day later, beating the Admirals 7-2.
However, hitting the road to face Pope John Paul II in Middle Tennessee, Farragut exploded offensively — coming away with a 26-3 victory Saturday, April 22.
Top performers last week
Top Farragut performances, which resulted in a 4-1 record through April 22.
Offensively, junior shortstop Lukas Buckner hit .562 (9 for 16) with six RBI while drawing five walks.
Junior outfielder Landis Davila battted .526 (10 for 19) with four doubles, 10 runs scoreded and five RBI
Junior second baseman Jake Merrick batted .500, as did senior Cooper Schulze.
Delph recorded a complete game win at Hendersonville, going seven innings with no earned runs or walks allowed, and giving up just one hit, with 13 strikeouts.
Junior Stratton Scott recorded a no-hitter against Heritage in a 12-0 Admirals victory Monday, April 17. Scott went five innings and walked just one batter with six strikeouts.
Season stats: 27 games
Through the team’s first 27 games this season, batting average leaders are: Buckner, .494; Davila .414; Evans .375; Merrick .365; senior Ellis Gleed .360; junior Brennon Seigler- .356; junior Gavin Brewer .353; Schulze .323; Underwood .319; Delph .294 and Johnston .291.
As for the long ball, Merrick led the Ads with five home runs, followed by Evans and Davila with four each.
At the top RBI-wise, Merrick had 28, Buckner 23 and Johnston 21.
On the mound, Delph was 3-0 with a 2.02 earned-run average in 27.2 innings of works, giving up 17 hits and six walks with 44 strikeouts.
Sulack was 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 26 innings, allowing 11 hits and 14 walks with 39 strikeouts.
Scott held a 3-1 record — plus one save — with a 3.40 ERA in 22.2 innings while allowing 19 hits and 10 walks with 18 strikeouts.
Sophomore Reid Thomason was 3-0, also with one save and a 2.06 ERA in 17 innings. He allowed 12 hits and eight walks with 23 strikeouts.