BY JESSE SMITHEY
MURFREESBORO — Wednesday won’t go down as one of the banner days of baseball for the Farragut program nor CAK.
But for the former, the Admirals still aren’t done yet.
Farragut fought off elimination on Wednesday night at the Oakland High School tournament site, and that 9-4 win over Clarksville sent Farragut into Thursday’s semifinal round.
Farragut (38-6) will have to beat Hardin County twice on Thursday to reach Friday’s Class AAA state championship game since the Admirals lost to Hardin County on Wednesday afternoon, 7-1.
They will play Hardin County (28-7-1) at 2 p.m. Central time at Oakland. Should they win, they’ll play immediately after.
“We got to hit and play defense. Hopefully, we can figure out enough pitching to get through two games,” said Farragut coach Matt Buckner. “It’s obviously going to be a tough feat.
“But we’ve done it before. We’ll see how it goes. Our guys will battle.”
Will the moment be too big for Hardin County? Thursday will tell. This is the Tigers’ first trip to a state tournament.
Meanwhile, Farragut is a national baseball power that has 10 state championships to its name, the latest of which came in 2019.
Nevertheless, Hardin County didn’t wilt against Farragut on Wednesday. They scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to build a 6-0 lead, and their three pitchers held the Admirals to six hits, stranding 11 baserunners.
“We didn’t do a single thing good. We’re pretty much bad across the board,” said Buckner. “We didn’t pitch or hit well.”
The Admirals bounced back quickly in the afternoon and put any thoughts of possible early elimination to rest. Bryce Burkey’s three-run triple in the second inning put Farragut up 4-0 on Clarksville (33-7).
That’s all pitcher Eli Evans needed. The freshman threw six innings of two-hit ball before hitting a wall a bit in the seventh and surrendering some runs.
“He pitched great. He ran out of gas in the seventh,” said Buckner. “He’s pitched really good for us all year. He’s done well.
“He pitched against some really good teams. And in some weekend tournaments, he’s done a really good job.”
CAK DROPS TWO ON WEDNESDAY
The Warriors just needed a win in their 12:30 p.m. game Wednesday against Christ Presbyterian Academy to advance to yet another state championship game.
Winners of state championships in 2017-2019, CAK fell to CPA, 3-1, though and dropped into an elimination game Wednesday afternoon against Northpoint Christian.
Northpoint nearly let CAK rally in the seventh but closed out the 7-3 win and eliminated the Warriors from the Division II-A tournament.
CAK (33-10) scored two runs in the seventh to cut the deficit to four and, with two outs, had the game-tying run at the plate. But Northpoint forced a fly out to win the game.