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Tennessee ‘Teams of the Decade’
Diamond Ads win 5th title since ’03

MURFREESBORO — Make it three Class AAA state titles in four years for Farragut High School baseball, and five in seven seasons for head coach Tommy Pharr.

As first reported at Farragut First Edition,, May 22, the four-hit pitching of standout sophomore staff ace Philip Pfeifer and clutch seventh-inning relief from senior Mac Thoreson was critical. The Admirals edged Mt. Juliet 2-1 Friday afternoon at Middle Tennessee State University’s Reese Smith Field.

“Pfeifer was really good and Mac came in like he has all tournament and wore ’em out,” said Pharr, whose Ads finish 39-5. Pfeifer ended with eight strikeouts, no walks in addition to the four hits. “Mac coming in, that was probably the biggest thing there.”

Thoreson inherited a 3-0 count, in the MJHS bottom of the seventh, to Mt. Juliet pitcher Ethan Gross, whose solo homer accounted for his team’s only run.

But Thoreson induced a groundout, and though giving up a one-out infield hit, induced a fly out and ended the game with a strikeout. Mt. Juliet, an 18-5 loser at FHS April 11, ends 32-12.

Pfeifer said, “If there was one pitcher to come in and close, it would be Mac Thoreson. Mac has been our leader since last year. … He keeps us in line, keeps us focused.”

Thoreson said, “I wanted not to anticipate it, I wanted Philip to get the job done. But coming in I had to be mentally prepared and I was. … I just came in, pounded the zone with fastballs and something good happened.”

Farragut struck fast in the first off Gross. Curt Powell reached second on a mis-played infield grounder and scored on Nicky Delmonico’s RBI double off the wall in centerfield.

Blake Hayes began the FHS second with a single and went to third on Nick Williams’ bloop single down the right-field line. Hayes scored on David Allen’s groundout.

Mt. Juliet cut the lead in half when Gross homered in the bottom of the second. Pfeifer allowed a two-out second-inning single and a leadoff third-inning infield hit. Six strikeouts in the second, third and fourth innings prevented any serious threats.

The standout sophomore retired MJHS in order in the fifth.

Pfeifer struck out two in the sixth, and following a two-out single, induced a fly-out.

Allen doubled in the seventh. Thoreson and Ethan Bennett also had hits for FHS.

About a stellar senior class featuring Thoreson, Powell, Cade Stallings, senior No. 2 starter Jordan Cooper, Hayes, Steven Weaver, Grant Tabor, Trip Keeton, Ellison Fitchpatrick and pitchers Ryan Littman and Marshall Leavell, Pharr said, “They left a great legacy. … They’ve won three state championships. Four of those guys were here in ’06.

“Special group of players but a special group of kids,” the FHS skipper added. “A lot of quality young men out there.”

Keeton, FHS senior reserve second baseman who started a handful of games late in the regular season, said, “It’s great. … It’s just an honor to be part of it all.”

Fitchpatrick said, “It’s a perfect ending to high school, to finish with two straight.”

Weaver, part-time starting left fielder, said, “It was great, just all the work we put in paid off at the end, and it’s great to be part of it.”

Stallings, senior All-state third baseman who started on FHS’s 2006 state champs as a freshman, praised Pharr. “Coach Pharr, by far, hands down, the best coach that I’ve every been around, that I’ve ever heard of,” he said.

Shortstop Powell, also a four-year starter, said, “I don’t know how to explain it, it’s an awesome feeling. Four of us were there the first year, and we kinda formed together and we kept on doing it.”

Assessing players who were new to state tourney pressure, Pharr said, “Nick [Williams] did a good job, he got a win on the mound for us [10-0, Collierville, May 21].”

About the bottom of his line-up coming through at state, Pharr said, “Blake has hit the ball well all year. He’s been kind of an unsung guy who’s had a great year. ... David Allen’s come on probably the last third of the season and has had a great year. Just competes.”

Tyler Noland, junior starting left fielder filling in for the injured Tabor, “came on and has played well for us and did well through the state tournament,” Pharr said.


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