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2008 state champs
Diamond Ads bash Bartlett 10-6, capture Pharr’s fourth state crown

NASHVILLE — Four Farragut High School baseball state championships in six years, three Delmonico brothers aiding the process.

Not to mention, in 2008, District 4-AAA MVP Curt Powell headlining

nine district honorees who include freshman pitching sensation

Philip Pfeifer and South-eastern Conference signees Matt “Hammer” Ramsey and Michael Williams.

And the championship glue year-in, year-out — head coach Tommy Pharr.It all added up to another FHS Class AAA state title after a 10-6 win against Bartlett in the championship game Friday, May 23, at Lipscomb University.

Joey Delmonico, senior All-District de-signated hitter, explained why Far-ragut’s second Class AAA state title in three years is sweeter than the 2006 crown to which he contributed.

“This team is a big family, and the fact that I get to share it with my little brother [Nicky], like that’s very emotional for me,” Joey said.

“I wish to God that I could have played with my older brother, Tony [standout shortstop on 2003 and 2004 state title teams] … but getting to play with Nicky and share a state championship … that makes it even better.

“This is so much sweeter. That means more to me than anything else in the world right now.”

Farragut, 43-3, counter-punched after the Panthers, 33-5, rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game.

Pharr’s troops wasted no time answering — a six-spot in the top of the fifth for a 10-4 cushion.

“Championship teams answer the bell,” said coach Pharr, guiding FHS to its fourth state crown since 2003. “We talked about having character. We talked about that we had delivered some punches early, they delivered a big blow there.”

Matt “Hammer” Ramsey, UT signee and Farragut’s hard-throwing pitcher/center fielder, said, “They definitely had the momentum. I think they probably thought they were going to shut us down, and then we come up and score six runs.

“Character and leadership is definitely what drives this team this year,” Ramsey added.

Michael Williams, FHS senior catcher and University of Kentucky signee, began the fifth by doubling violently down the left field line. Williams ended his career with three hits in the title game, erasing thoughts of a late-regular season slump.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit, but I’ve been fighting through it. … I answered and I answered well,” he said.

Ramsey reached on an infield throwing error, scoring pinch-runner Zach Allen.

Mac Thoreson’s double down the third base line scored Ramsey, then Joey Delmonico’s double to right center field scored Thoreson, making it 7-4.

Two walks followed, and Bartlett went to its fifth pitcher of the game, Heith Hatfield.

Powell popped up, but Nicky Delmonico placed a 3-2 pitch into right field for a two-RBI single and a 9-4 FHS lead.

Cade Stallings’ sacrifice fly capped the six-run inning.

It turns out Farragut baseball fans shouldn’t have been surprised by a freshman pitcher taking the mound in the state championship game.

Philip Pfeifer went 3 2/3 innings, allowing just the one hit, a home run, and one walk while striking out two.

“By far the best freshman we’ve ever had in post-season,” Pharr said. “He’s pitched more in post-season than any freshman we’ve every had.

“I mean he’s pretty collected for a freshman,” Pharr added. “He did a good job. I mean, heck, he was tired and was throwing a lot here at the end.

“I said, ‘hey, if you can give us three or four innings it would be awesome.”

Pfeifer started shaky only to recover without damage in the first inning. Falling behind the first batter 2-0 and the second 3-0, Pfeifer battled back to force a fly-out and strike out before a fly-out to center ended the Panther first inning.

“Those outs were really key,” Pfeifer said. “It could have been a different ballgame if we hadn’t gotten those two guys out.

“I was worked up. I was pretty comfortable with Hammer behind me, but Bartlett’s a good hitting team and I was pretty worried.”

Pfeifer began the fourth by hitting the lead-off batter on a 1-2 count, then Jacob Wilson laced a home run past the right center field fence, cutting the FHS lead in half, 4-2.

Pfeifer then induced a fly-out to right field and a line-out to third. But after a 2-1 pitch was roped hard foul down the left field line, Pharr went to Ramsey.

Pharr said, “If we were going to lose it, I wanted it to be one of our seniors, somebody that had some experience in [such] a game.”

However, Ramsey struggled right away, giving up a sharp single to right, a deep drive to left field for a double that cut the lead to 4-3 and a single to right center field that tied the game.

But the pitcher’s best friend, a 6-4-3 double play, came before a strikeout to end the inning.

Ramsey had minimal trouble in the sixth with a strikeout and twp groundouts with a walk sandwiched in between.

Farragut scored in each of the first four innings.

Junior shortstop Curt Powell, District 4-AAA MVP, scored after reaching on an error as Williams singled to right in the top of the first.

Matt Sayers and Blake Hayes followed with hits to right center field — Hayes stretching his into a double with excellent base-running.

Powell then brought Sayers home with a groundout.

Stalling led off the FHS third with a walk, then Williams doubled sharply down the right field line.

Thoreson’s groundout scored Stallings, then Joey Delmonico reached — and pinch-runner Zach Allen scored — as a grounder went through the Bartlett shortstop’s legs.

The Panthers scored two runs in the seventh, aided by a walk and a throwing error plus one hit. But starter-reliever Jordan Cooper induced a game-ending groundout in which third baseman Stallings made a lunging stop to his left and strong throw to first.

Hayes’ leadoff triple in the right field corner was wasted in the top of the fourth.

Pharr credited “the character of our seniors” as vital en route to a 43-win season and state title. “Got a real good group of seniors, real good guys, good people, they’re a class group. They do stuff together close. They love each other.”

As compared to the 2006 state crown, Ramsey said, “I think this feels a lot better. One, it’s my senior year and it’s always good to end your career on a win and take the state championship home with you.”

Other FHS seniors commented on the state crown.

Pitcher Hunter Newby: “There’s probably no better way to go out. Been the four best years of my life. To top it off right here is the best moment I’ve ever had in my life. I just love all the guys on the team, and we play our hearts out.

Allen: “I’ve been playing with these guys for as long as I can remember and it’s just a great feeling to go out on top.”

Infielder/pitcher Ryan Burnett: “It’s just awesome, I can’t really describe the feeling.”

Sayers: “I’m just honored to have coach Pharr as a coach and to be playing with this team. Having such a great relationship with all the senior guys. Going out with a blast.”

Reliever Shane Glarrow: “We’ve worked so hard to get here. It’s been a long ride, a lot of hard practices. Being with the guys and stuff, it’s been amazing.”

Pitcher Chris Hatfield: “I’m just lucky to be with so many great players having a chance to just make it in the first place.”

Nicky Delmonico summed it all up: “I love playing with Joey, he was awesome.”


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