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Young guns, radar guns give hint to current, future success
Unknown pitcher, unlikely rally push No. 1 Ads to ‘Belle’ crown

A young, unknown Farragut pitcher shined bright under a spotlight that became available thanks to an unlikely rally a few hours earlier.

Making his first-ever varsity start but pitching like a battle-tested senior for most of his 6 2/3 innings of work, sophomore Lawson Cheek took the bows Saturday night in the finals of the Sports Belle Invitational in UT’s Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Cheek allowed eight hits and three runs against Nashville John Overton – but only one hit during the first four innings and just one walk the entire game — as the No. 1 state-ranked and top-10 nationally-ranked Admirals clipped the Bobcats 8-3.

“I think there’s a lot of our older guys who don’t do as well in the pressure,” FHS head coach Tommy Pharr said. “He located the ball well.

“He came out, threw strikes, had a good, low breaking ball. And we scored early, too, and I think that helped.”

Improving its overall record to 22-1, Farragut jumped ahead quickly. Kyle Waldrop’s RBI double on a frozen rope liner to deep left field and Riley Jennings’ single keyed a three-run FHS first inning.

Up 4-0, Waldrop tripled into the left-centerfield gap and Scott Dean’s sacrifice fly made it 5-0 in the third inning before Cody Brown’s double and David King’s RBI made it 6-0.

Harrison Eldridge’s triple deep to centerfield and Philip Sherrard’s RBI single gave FHS a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Brown’s RBI double in the sixth brought home the final run.

Drew Reagan, who earned a save by pitching the final two innings of relief against Webb, retired the final batter against Overton.


But the Admirals’ route to the title game seemed to be diverted by a spunky Knoxville Webb team that almost pounded FHS into submission during the first four innings of Saturday’s semifinal at Lindsey Nelson.

Striking quickly for four first-inning runs and building a 7-0 lead heading to the top of the fifth-inning, Clark Wormsley’s 2003 Division II state runner-up (8-5 record as of week’s end) were in complete control.

But a dropped fly-ball and a 3-2 pitch that looked very close to a strike-three but was ruled high for a walk forced in the first FHS run in the fifth inning and quickly turned the tables.

Webb pitcher Patrick Kimmons had been sailing along — holding FHS hitless through four innings — until hitting two batters and walking two others, which set the stage for Waldrop’s two RBI single and Dean’s two-RBI double down the right field line.

The end result was a seven-run Admiral fifth-inning that tied the game.

King, who helped ignite the fifth-inning rally with a single, scored the eventual game-winning run in the sixth following his one-out single. With two outs, King stole second as the throw sailed into centerfield.

But the Spartans’ centerfielder momentarily bobbled the ball, and coach Pharr waved King all the way around. The throw home was off target. Dean, whose recent hot hitting has elevated him to the cleanup spot in the batting order, drove in a pair of insurance runs with a two-out single in the seventh.

As for those first four innings, “that’s as bad as we’ve played, and they got after us pretty good, too,” Pharr said about going hitless with three errors.

Kimmons, Brian Cronk, Jordan Wormsley and Charlie Seivers each had two hits in Webb’s 10-hit attack.


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