Sports

From bases-loaded 3 RBIs to barehanded putout

‘Best team that’s ever played in TN’ led by FHS Class of ’24, 17 strong; end careers with state title 3-peat, edge Nolensville

MURFREESBORO — The first big blow that put Farragut’s ultra-talented and huge Class of 2024-led baseball team on the state map was Eli Evans’ two-out, three-RBI triple down the left-field line in the top of the seventh inning, breaking a 1-1 tie versus Houston in 2022.

The result: state title No. 1 of this new era.

The last big play that capped a TSSAA Division I-4A state title threepeat for this class, and the entire Admirals program, was Evans doing his best Brooks Robinson imitation to charge a slow tapper, make a barehand grab and fire an off-balance, yet accurate, throw to first base.

This final out, which if not recorded would have brought the go-ahead run to the plate for Nolesville (34-10), secured a nerve-wracking 3-1 state title game win Friday night, May 24, at MTSU’s Reese Smith Jr. Field.

“I trust myself to make that play,” said this Class 4-A Mr. Baseball state finalist.

“He’s done that five or six times this year,” Admirals skipper Matt Buckner said about bare-handed putouts from Evans, one of 17 seniors, most of whom have been huge contributors to the program’s success the past three seasons, with all eight position players from this class.

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Radcliffe’s 3rd pk happy ending: ‘no goals allowed’ BHS wins state

Nelson MVP in three shutouts, critical pk stop, clinching tally

MURFREESBORO — It wasn’t enough that Logan Nelson stopped a Ravenwood penalty kick that opened the door for his Bearden SoccerDawgs to be one more successful pk from the program’s sixth TSSAA state crown.

Nelson also stepped up to boot home the championship-winning pk, then was repeatedly “attacked” in joy by numerous elated teammates in the 5-3 pk win after 100 scoreless minutes versus state power Ravenwood (18-3-4) in Richard Siegel Soccer Complex Stadium Friday afternoon, May 24.

“I wanted it,” Nelson, Division I Class AAA state title game MVP, said about taking the clinching kick.

As for the critical pk stop on the Raptors’ fourth try, “I knew in my mind where the kids have gone from past pk shootouts,” the junior keeper said. “But for that pk, I was like, ‘I knew he was going that way.’ So as soon as I did, I dove that way (to his left), saved it, and then I got up for that pk, for the one that I had to take. I knew I just had to put it in the back of the net.

“It’s a fairytale ending,” he added. “There’s not much more I could ask for. These are nights that you dream about. Saving a pk and then going up and finishing out the game as a goalkeeper, you don’t see that a lot, so it’s perfect.”

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Murphy-led KCHS girls tennis 3-peat, singles; Faulkner’s 4th

MURFREESBORO — Playing side-by-side at Adams Tennis Complex in search of girls state singles crowns, Knoxville Catholic’s Lillie Murphy remained unbeaten in her high school tennis career while Christian Academy of Knoxville’s Allie Faulkner won her fourth straight Division II-A singles state championship.

Murphy single No. 1, KCHS girls state threepeat

For Murphy, 2024 was a transition from being a doubles player who had won back-to-back Division II-AA titles with Eleni Liakonis as a freshman and sophomore. But the junior wrapped up her first II-AA singles state title Friday morning, May 24, by beating Melanie Woodbury of Hutchison (Memphis) 6-4, 6-3.

“I’m really happy, especially following up Maeve (Thornton),” Murphy said about her former star teammate, a career unbeaten three-time state singles champ. “She’s definitely a great example to to follow up on.”

A Furman University commitment, Murphy said about her summer plans, “I’m going to take a few days off, go to the beach. But then after that, I have a bunch of tournaments coming up.”

What’s more, Murphy and her younger sister, sophomore Lauren Murphy, contributed three team triumphs, combining in doubles to win 8-6 while each was victorious in singles, to capture the II-AA state crown versus Baylor 4-3 Wednesday, May 22, the program’s third straight team state title.

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Webb girls nab II-AA state title in track; shot put title repeat; Ebbert 3200 #1

MURFREESBORO — Making a huge splash in Division II-AA with its first team state title at the private schools’ top level, Webb School of Knoxville girls track and field edged past runner-up Harpeth Hall 103 versus 100.50 Wednesday evening, May 22, in Middle Tennessee State University’s Dean Hayes Stadium.

Six individual state champions led the way: Lennox Langham, junior, long jump (18-feet-03.25) and triple jump, (37-11.75); 4 X 800 relay (9.23:78); Carolina Areheart, sophomore, 1600 (4:53.28) and 800 (2:16.17); and Jazzlyn Garmer, sophomore, 3200 (10:44.47).

Other Division II-AA and A champs listed later in story.

Ebbert’s main helper

Becoming a distance runner as a fifth-grader, Braden Ebbert recalled, “I almost quit in middle school.”

But his mother, Tristi Ebbert, “kept me on the path of running,” he added. “I’m so grateful for her.”

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