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Typical Diamond Ad blanking
Freshman pitcher hurls victory as Farragut baseball rolls in ’08 opener

For all of Farragut’s might as a baseball team, it took a pair of costly errors plus four beaned batters to ignite the Admirals’ first-inning, seven-run explosion on opening day. With a freshman on the mound making his first-ever high school varsity baseball start — and throwing four shutout innings — the Ads opened its 2008 season with a 16-0 drubbing of defending Class AAA state runner-up South-Doyle.

Junior Mac Thoreson’s three-run homer was the offensive highlight Monday, March 10, at FHS’s John Heatherly Field. Cade Stallings added a pair of doubles for the winners.

As opening game starter, Farragut freshman lefty pitcher Philip Pfeifer allowed just three hits while striking out six in four innings. He did walk five.

“He’s going to be a good one, he throws the ball well, he’s a good pitcher,” FHS head coach Tommy Pharr said of Pfeifer. “He just got a little bit out of sync, probably a little bit of nerves. ... He’s thrown better than that in scrimmages and stuff, he’s struggled a little bit with command there for a while,” Pharr added.

“But it was a pretty good outing for him.”

First innings doubles by Stallings, a junior third baseman, and junior shortstop Curt Powell came before the two errors and four hit-batters that resulted in five unearned runs.

Thoreson, a junior pitcher-first baseman, added a first inning single.

Farragut’s bats heated up in the third inning, with all five runs and five hits coming after two out and nobody on base.

Matt Ramsey, senior designated hitter-pitcher-centerfielder, laced an RBI single to score Powell, who singled.

Stallings’ second double found the left-center field gap, scoring Ramsey and making it 9-0.

After FHS senior catcher Michael Williams singled, Thoreson blasted a fastball into the evening sky across Kingston Pike, making it 12-0.

“I was sitting on it a little bit, they had been coming inside on me the two previous at-bats,” Thoreson said. “They were jamming me a little bit, so I was looking first-pitch fastball, and I got it and put a good swing on it.”

Admiral pinch-hitter Ethan Bennett added an RBI single to right field in the fourth to highlight a four-run inning. Pinch-hitter Ryan Littman added an RBI fielder’s choice.

The Cherokees are rebuilding. “It’s a totally different team, they had a lot of guys starting for a long time over there,” Pharr said. “They had some real good players, obviously, and most of ’em are playing somewhere in college right now.

“They helped us early, appreciated that, but it’s good to win the first one,” the FHS skipper added. “We had seven runs on three hits early, and they hit about four or five guys.”

Defensively, FHS freshman second baseman Nicky Delmonico’s diving, over-the-shoulder catch of a pop-fly in short right field — coming with two outs in the fourth — saved at least two runs.

Reserve Admiral shortstop Trip Keeton made a diving stop up the middle for a put-out to begin the SDHS fifth inning.

Farragut was originally scheduled to open the season at SDHS, but due to stadium repairs the game was moved.

As a result, the game does not count in the 4-AAA standings — the teams will play three times. “We didn’t really want to flip-flop, so we said we’ll just play this game ... and reschedule the [game at SDHS],” Pharr said.

In preparing for the 2008 season — and annual high expectations statewide thanks to three Class AAA state crowns since 2003 — Powell said he and his teammates “expect a lot. We expect perfection.

“If we don’t have that, coach definitely lets us know,” the junior standout added. “We’re working even harder, taking extra cuts in the cage, taking more ground balls this year. We’ve been hitting the weight room.”


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