Pitching depth, clutch bats key: FHS district champs top Alcoa 8-4

In the top of the sixth inning last Friday night, April 21, at Bellamy Field, Farragut High School junior Emma MacTavish took the mound in relief to try to hold the Lady Admirals’ 6-3 lead against Alcoa.

Four batters later — a single, a hit batsman, and two walks — it was 6-4, and the bases were loaded with no outs. FHS’s lead was precarious at best.

Turns out it wasn’t.

MacTavish struck out the next batter, induced a pop-up to second base after that, then killed the threat with another strikeout.

“Definitely created our own bad situation there,” Farragut head coach Nick Green said about the close-call victory, which improved the District 4-4A regular season champion Lady Ads’ record to 21-4 overall (finishing 9-1 in district) entering this week. “... But giving up a run wasn’t the end of the world. We ended up getting out of that inning, which was huge.”

Just as huge for FHS’s fortunes was the bat of sophomore catcher Elsa Morrison.

In the bottom of the sixth, she brought in two big

insurance runs with a home-run bomb to center field making it 8-4. Junior Riley Kate Ragan also scored on the blast.

Earlier, in the fourth, Morrison laced a double just inside the left field line with one out to make it 6-3. Junior Addison Pressley, who had walked, and Ragan, who had singled, scored on the play.

In addition to the two hits, Morrison walked twice, drove in four and scored twice.

“It was a perfect time to go for it,” Morrison said about the homer. “We were up and my whole team was rallying behind me and I went to coach Green, and he said ‘let’s go.’ I was just all for it.”

“(I told her) just go out and put some good swings on it; do what you can,” Green said.

“Our game plan was we were gonna throw her two balls off the plate and I think we had one too much,” Lady Tornadoes head coach Sarah Bailey said about pitching to Morrison.

The Lady Admirals led 3-0 after two, only to see AHS tie it 3-3 in the third with two run-scoring singles.

But FHS came right back in the bottom half of the inning to lead 4-3 when Morrison scored on senior Ava Guzowski’s single.

The Lady Admirals then made it 6-3 in the fourth on Morrison’s double. FHS starting pitcher Avery Mattina, a senior, threw two scoreless innings, giving up one hit and a walk. She struck out one.

MacTavish gave up a double with two outs in the seventh, but then got a groundout to end the game.