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Irish baseball runner-up at state
Dyer 010 201 4 - 8 9 0 KCHS 000 200 2 - 4 8 1 E-Ferguson. DP-Choctaws 1; LOB-Choctaws 5; Irish 3. 2B - Haycraft; Patterson; Roberson; Newell 2; McDermott; DiFelice; Hookman; Ferguson. HBP-Thomas; Patterson. SH-Gammons; Roberson. SB-Patteron; Erwin.

MURFREESBORO — Knoxville Catholic didn’t win its TSSAA Class AA Baseball State Championship game at Middle Tennessee State University’s Reese Smith Field.

But as first reported at Farragut First Edition,, Friday, May 22, the Irish program did make history, becoming the first KCHS team ever ro finish No. 2 in state (32-7).

“This is the best season in Catholic baseball history … I can’t say enough about our guys continuing to battle,” said KCHS head coach Adam Sullivan, whose team lost to Dyer County 8-4. “All along the way it’s just been magical, the Lord’s shown us favor, it seems like.”

Just enough KCHS mistakes and tired Irish pitching all benefited the West Tennessee Choctaws. Four DCHS runs in the top of the seventh turned out to be vital.

Anthony DiFelice, standout senior shortstop, said about Choctaws’ freshman southpaw Colton Harris, “We’ve had trouble with soft lefties all year long. … The kid, he came out and pitched well. Just caught us off guard.”

Meanwhile, Irish sophomore lefty Zach Cooper was holding his own by allowing just one hit the first three innings. But with Dyer up 1-0 in the fourth, a walk, hit batter and a two-RBI double scored two making it 3-0 Choctaws. He lasted five innings.

John Andrew McDermott began the KCHS fourth with a double, as the third baseman ended with three hits. Sean Morash’s sacrifice fly put Catholic on the board. DiFelice doubled down the left-field line, then scored on Daniel Hookman’s RBI single.

Hookman’s one-out single jumped-started Catholic’s two-run seventh. Drew Ferguson doubled, Cooper had an RBI groundout and Wes Monarch singled in a run.

Despite the loss of staff ace and clean-up hitter John Anders before the season, followed by the loss of starting junior catcher Taylor Broussard late in the regular season, “I’ll tell you what happened: some young guys stepped up and they weren’t afraid,” Sullivan said. “They filled those spots and acted like they were supposed to be here.

Seniors DiFelice, Hookman, Morash, Dalton Irwin and Brandon Peters played in, or dressed for, their last game Friday.

“We had five guys that paid the price and have put in four years of just getting after it, and I couldn’t be happier for those guys,” Sullivan said.

Morash, a left fielder, said, “It was awesome just to be here. … The young guys really stepped up.”

Irwin, a Walters State Community College signee and right fielder, said, “We worked so hard to get to this point and overcome so many things everyone thought we couldn’t do. … God’s blessed us to get us this far, and I’m thankful for that.”


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