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Diamond debut
Chandler, Taylor, Miller lead FHS Baseball rout of Heritage

Derek Chandler, FHS starting pitcher, fires a strike against Heritage during an eventual 8-0 Admirals win where the senior hurler went the distance.- Dan Barile/farragutpress
MARYVILLE -— Three mid-level contributors to a Farragut High School Baseball state championship last season plan on being huge contributors in 2011.

At least based upon their season-opening performances in a 8-0 whipping of District 4-AAA foe Heritage at HHS Monday evening, March 14.

Winning pitcher Derek Chandler went the distance, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out eight in seven innings.

“He did exactly what I wanted him to do, and we played good defense,” FHS head coach Matt Buckner said of Chandler, a senior who is battling Xander Taylor for team's No. 2 starting rotation spot.

“He threw a lot of strikes and gave us a great opportunity to win.”

Allowing a seventh-inning leadoff hit before falling behind the next HHS batter 2-0, Chandler said he “kinda put it in cruise control for a little bit, then I had to bump it back up again. … None of my pitches were really overpowering, I just did a good job hitting spots and putting it where [the catcher] calls it.”

What followed were consecutive strikeouts and a pop-out to end the game.

“Nicky [Delmonico, catcher] did a good job of calling pitches, mixing it up,” Chandler added.

Taylor, meanwhile, tore it up offensively with a game-leading three hits: an RBI double off the field's green wall in left-centerfield, a sharply stroked double down the left field line plus a ripped single to left field.

“Just having a good approach, not trying to kill the ball,” said Taylor, a junior, who is Farragut's starting right fielder when not pitching.

The experienced Admirals “just have to step up and be leaders for all the young guys; lead by example,” Taylor added.

Scotty Miller, senior left fielder, added a two-strike home run to left field plus a well-struck double down the third base line.

“It was a fastball down the middle,” Miller said about his home run. “I got lucky, hit it on the fat part of the bat.”

Defensively, Miller added a leaping catch while crashing into the wall in left-centerfield.

Buckner said Taylor and Miller “swung it well, but some of our top-of-the-order guys didn't. … I have a lot of confidence in our top-of-the-order guys that are going to do a great job.

“With some guys, it's first-game jitters.”

Overall, “I wouldn't say we had a great offensive day, but we had enough,” Buckner added.

Freshman first baseman Chase Chambers came off the bench to smack two singles, producing one RBI.

Defensively, Chambers caught a tricky pop-up near the FHS dugout before digging out a low throw to complete a double play.

“That was a good job,” Buckner said. “He's a freshman with a bright future.”

Chandler Vannoy, senior third baseman, added an RBI single in Farragut's four-run first inning, which was ignited with a two-out throwing error by Heritage's shortstop.

A.J. Simcox, junior shortstop, had an infield hit in a three-run third inning before adding a sharp fifth-inning single to left.

Garrett Jordan drew a bases-loaded walk for a third inning RBI.


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