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Back to Back to Back?
Diamond Ads look for third consecutive AAA state title after dumping Halls, Science Hill


For the fifth straight year the Farragut Admirals baseball team is headed to the state tournament.

Behind Rob Catapano’s bat FHS defeated Science Hill 10-2 in the sectional Saturday, May 21, at John Heatherly Field at FHS.

The junior pitcher and outfielder delivered five RBIs in the game, including a three-run-home run in the first to give the Admirals (32-7) an early 6-0 lead.

“I just went up there swinging hard and looking for a pitch to hit,” Catapano said. “He was down in the count so I knew he had to throw me something to hit so I was just looking for a ball I could drive.”


Prior to the blast over the left-center wall, the Admirals had a 3-0 lead thanks to RBI singles by Cody Brown, Ty Nelson and a sacrifice fly by Chip Eskew. The big inning was all the Admirals needed to claim its spot in the Spring Fling in Memphis.

“It was a key part of winning the game,” Catapano said. “In the early innings if a team gets up like that its hard to come back from a 6-0 deficit.”

With a big cushion to work with, pitcher Tony Delmonico held the Hilltoppers in check by allowing only two runs in his six innings of work. “Tony pitched well,” FHS head coach Tommy Pharr said. “We jumped on them and got the lead early and held on and did a good job.”

The two-time defending state champion Admirals started this season with the goal to make it to the state tournament and with hard work and perseverance FHS came through. “It’s always the goal but you don’t know for sure how things are going to gel,” Pharr said. “I thought we had a chance; we did a good job and came together.”

Being the two-time defending state champions, is there any extra pressure going into the tournament? Pharr doesn’t think so. “There is no more pressure than there ever is,” Pharr said. “We just have to play baseball and hopefully we will play well and with some luck we will see what happens.”

The Ads opened state tournament play Tuesday (after press deadline) against Franklin, with Tullahoma and Houston also in the FHS four-team bracket among the eight-team field. The Class AAA state championship game is 8 p.m. (EDT) Friday, May 27.

FHS 12 HALLS 9

In what started as a rout by the Halls Red Devils soon became one of biggest wins of the season for the Admirals.

Brown hit a pair of three-run-home runs in back-to-back innings that helped the Admirals erase a seven-run deficit and defeat Halls 12-9 Wednesday, May 18, at Halls to claim its eighth straight Region 2-AAA title.

“Coach Pharr told us that if we scrapped together runs we knew that we could get back in it and that’s what we did so we battled the whole entire game and got back in the game,” Brown said.

As for his individual performance, “I was seeing it good and I was just trying to put the ball somewhere in play and try to make them make the plays and I got a few pitches up and I did a pretty good job,” Brown said.

The Admirals found themselves down 8-1 in the second inning due to home runs by Jeff Lockwood, Chase Portwood, and Dustin Black. FHS freshman starter Matt Ramsey was replaced after 1 2/3 innings by Lawson Cheek. Cheek scattering only two hits and no runs in his 3 2/3 innings of relief work before handing the ball to Delmonico to finish the game.

With the pitching holding the Halls hitters in check for the remainder of the game, FHS began pecking away at the lead.

“It was a great high school baseball game, it was big eight-one and probably nobody thought that we would win and we just competed and came back,” Pharr said. “Cody hit a ball out and got us back in it and Lawson came out and held them in check and we just kept pecking away and got back in the ball game and got a ‘W’ and that’s huge.”

Senior leadership was the key to the Ads’ unwillingness to give up according to Pharr. “That was great to comeback, we could have folded right there but give our guys credit, they battled back, stayed in the ball game,” Pharr said. “Cody got the big hit and another big hit and carried us offensively. ...”

 

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