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Ads find a way to rally, win versus Dobyns-Bennett


On a damp Friday afternoon at John Heatherly Field, Farragut’s defense was quite leaky for five innings against the fundamentally sound Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett Indians.

Derek Chandler, FHS starting pitcher, was victimized by four errors, as three of Dobyns-Bennett’s five runs were unearned.

But through it all, Farragut was Farragut when it mattered most.

Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh, the three-time defending Class AAA state champions responded with two runs, beating KDB 6-5 and winning its pool in the 24-team Kesslers Classic April 15.

“Good teams find a way to win,” said FHS head coach Matt Buckner, whose Ads were 21-4 overall, 8-2 in District 4-AAA after beating William Blount 4-1 Monday.

“Hopefully that’s a mark of something good to come. … Maybe we didn’t deserve to win, making all those errors,” he added.

The Indians fell to 15-5 after the loss.

“We battled through adversity today,” said junior shortstop A.J. Simcox, who led off the seventh with a triple dropping deep down the right field line.

“It was a curveball; I just tried to do what I could to get on base. I knew Nicky [Delmonico] was up behind me. If I got on base I knew he was going to get me in. That’s just the kind of player he is.”


Delmonico, senior catcher/third baseman, didn’t disappoint: connecting for a single to centerfield chasing Simcox home for the tie.

Xander Taylor, junior first baseman, singled to left field. Sophomore centerfielder Cameron Strickland, attempting only to sacrifice Delmonico and Taylor, ended up with a well-deadened bunt single when Indians pitcher Will Allen slipped.

Allen then walked Scotty Miller to bring home Farragut’s winning run.

“We got the hits when we needed to,” Buckner said.

Chandler, a senior who recently signed with Cleveland State Community College, worked five innings (slightly more than 100 pitches according to Buckner), allowing just two earned runs and four hits with 10 strikeouts and five walks.

Working on just three days rest, Chandler said, “I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff today, but I felt good enough to keep us in there.

“We did a great job fighting,” Chandler added. “Everybody just came up big.”

Buckner emphasized that Chandler “was on three days rest,” adding the senior was “OK, he gave us a chance to win.”

Farragut answered Dobyns-Bennett’s two-run first inning (one earned run, two hits, one walk, one outfield error) with Miller’s RBI single up the middle with the bases loaded. Taylor also singled in the first.

Two diving stops by KDB shortstop Elijah Sutherland, one recording an out and the other keeping Miller’s single on the infield preventing a second FHS run, were part of the Indians’ strong defensive game.

“They’ve got a good club, they play great defense,” Buckner said of Dobyns-Bennett. “They’re much improved from last year when we played them.”

Another unearned run in the KDB third inning, along with two walks, were capped by a two-out, two RBI single making it 4-1.

About dealing with the errors, Chandler said, “You can’t really dwell on it ... flush it right away.”

The Ads answered in the fourth. Strickland’s check-swing infield hit was aided by KDB starting pitcher Sean Seabolt slipping.

Miller doubled down the left field line. After a Chandler RBI ground-out, Chandler Vannoy’s RBI double cut it to 4-3.

Nick Senzel, sophomore second baseman, stroked a two-out RBI single to right tying the game 4-4.

A two out infield error in the fifth, without the benefit of a hit, allowed KDB to reclaim the lead.

Though having a rough day in the field, Vannoy came over from third base to relieve Chandler — and pick up the win.

Working the final two innings, Vannoy allowed a double, but otherwise retired the KDB line-up in order. “Chandler Vannoy, he’s a tough kid,” Buckner said. “He did a good job, I’m proud of him.”

Despite the errors, two Ads stepped up defensively in the sixth. Delmonico, having moved from catcher to third base, took away a KDB single with a diving stop to his left and throw to first.

After a two-out Indians double, Strickland made a running, leaping catch of a drive to the warning track in deep centerfield.

 

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