In 23rd sectional since ’99

FHS hosts Jeff County for state berth

  • Michael Delph, Ads junior starting pitcher, fires plateward versus the Wildcats. - Photos courtesy of Tony Cox

  • Jake Merrick, Farragut junior second baseman, connects for a base hit versus Oak Ridge Saturday, May 13, at Carson-Newman University. - Photos courtesy of Tony Cox

Earning the program’s 23rd sectional berth in the last 25 years (with no post-season tourneys due to COVID in 2020), the defending Class 4A state champion Farragut Admirals baseball team is playing well at the perfect time.

“I feel we’ve come together really well in the last month,” Farragut head coach Matt Buckner said about his 30-8 Ads, coming off a Region 2-4A tourney title.

“We’ve played an exceptionally hard schedule. We’re tournament tested. ... Our pitchers are where they need to be.”

One of his top arms, junior Michael Delph, allowed one earned run, five hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in an 11-1 five-inning win against Oak Ridge at Carson-Newman University Saturday, May 13, to secure the region crown.

“I felt amazing, coming out and pounding the zone,” said Delph, who improved his season record to 6-0 with a 1.48 earned-run average in 42 2/3 innings pitched, allowing 29 hits and eight walks with 69 strikeouts.

“Just try to do what I do.”

Pitching in District 4-4A and region tourney games combined, Delph is 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA in 14 innings pitched, allowing 12 hits and two walks with 22 strikeouts.

In the Class 4A Sectional 1 match-up, Jefferson County (19-14) visits Farragut at the Ballpark at Farragut/John Heatherly Field, with game one beginning at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 17; game two begins at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, May 18; while game three (if necessary) follows game two May 18.

Farragut stat leaders through 38 games (prior to Sectional):

• Batting average — Lukas Buckner .463; Landis Davila .402; Eli Evans .398; Brennon Seigler .395; Ellis Gleed .389; Mark Underwood .382; Jake Merrick .374; Jett Johnston .368; Gavin Brewer .329; Cooper Schulze .304; and Michael Delph .299.

• Home runs — Johnston 10, Davila six and Evans and Merrick five each.

• RBI — Johnston 39, Merrick 37, Buckner 37, and Evans and Davila 33 each.

• Stolen bases — Seigler nine and Buckner eight.

• Other pitchers — Ashton Sulack, 6 -1, 1.25 ERA, 33 2/3 innings pitched allowing 11 hits and 18 walks with 56 strikeouts; Stratton Scott, 5-2, 2.60 ERA, 37 2/3 innings pitched allowing 25 hits and 22 walks with 38 strikeouts.

Special notes — Johnston, senior third baseman, was hitting .239 before the Bearden game April 19. Since that point, he is hitting .553 with seven home runs, six doubles and a .650 on-base percentage.

• Top batting averages in district/region tourney: Johnston .571 (five homers, 15 RBI), Evans .464, Underwood .450.