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Cooper’s relief, Ramsey’s start offset Gouffon’s stellar work

With Farragut bats basically silenced, FHS pitchers Matt Ramsey and Jordan Cooper compensated by becoming strikeout machines.

Cooper’s lights-out relief work in the seventh inning extinguished a Bulldog blaze — bases loaded, none out — and saved a critical District 4-AAA tourney game with an overpowering fastball used to strike out the heart of Bearden’s order.

Combining that with a two-hit, 14 strikeout effort from Ramsey — fanning 10 of the last 12 batters he faced in five innings of work — and the Admirals survived 2-1 in a winner bracket game Monday, May 5, at FHS’s John Heatherly Field.

“I’m not going to let ’em down, I know they’ve worked their butts off all season to get to this point,” said Copper, whose Ads (36-2 after the win) earned a spot in the 4-AAA title game Wednesday, May 7 (after deadline). “I just wasn’t going to let us lose. ... adrenaline took over the nervousness.”

BHS head coach Matt Buckner said, “We didn’t execute offensively, we had ’em where we wanted ’em. We let ’em off the hook there.

“Give Cooper credit ... threw great, punched my best three hitters out, probably.”

The Bulldogs (33-4 after Monday), had to beat either Maryville or William Blount Tuesday, May 6 (after deadline) to keep its season alive.

Bearden starter Taylor Gouffon, allowing just three hits in seven innings of work, took the loss — victimized by an error in the bottom of the sixth allowing the go-ahead run to score without the benefit of a hit.

“That’s the mark of a championship team,” FHS first baseman Mac Thoreson said. “Gouffon did a great job on the mound for them. He was keeping us off-balance, changing sides of the plate.”

Buckner said Gouffon “pitched well against [FHS] the first time [3-2 loss in March]. “... He pitched his end off, did a great job.”

Solo second-inning home runs by BHS catcher Jonathan Bryd and FHS third baseman Cade Stallings provided all scoring until the bottom of a the sixth.

Zach Allen, pinch-running for Stallings after a lead-off walk, moved to second after another walk then scored on an infield error making it 2-1.

Bryant Walker, BHS third baseman, gunned down Thoreson at home to keep the score 2-1.

Admiral reliever Chris Hatfield allowed a sharp single up the middle to Dylan Highsmith to open the BHS seventh, then Ryan Ford’s perfectly place bunt turned into an infield hit. A failed force-out attempt loaded the bases.

Cooper fanned batters Nos. 3 through 5: Matthew Scruggs, Dawson Halliday and Walker.

Nicky Delmonico and Curt Powell had the other FHS hits. Ford led all sticks with two hits. Halliday added a single.

The District 4-AAA champ will host the Region 2-AAA semifinals Monday, May 12, against the District 3-AAA runner-up, with the 4-AAA runner-up hitting the road against 3-AAA’s champ.

Winners will meet Wednesday, May 14, at the higher seeded team’s site (or at the 4-AAA site if teams have same seed).

Farragut beat Lenoir City 10-0 and Maryville 7-2 in first-round tourney action late last week. (Other BHS games details below)


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