BY MIKE BLACKERBY
MURFREESBORO — At this stage, nothing figures to come easy from here on out.
Nonetheless, Farragut continued its march through the winner’s bracket of the state Class AAA softball tournament on Wednesday as the Lady Admirals pulled out a taxing 2-0 decision against Coffee County at McKnight Park.
The Lady Admirals (35-2) play either Dyer County or Summit at 5:30 Thursday. The winner takes control of Friday’s winner’s bracket finals round.
“That’s a great Coffee County (31-6-1) team and they’re very well coached,” said Farragut coach Nick Green.
The Lady Admirals aren’t half bad either.
Farragut has now outscored its nine postseason tournament opponents by a combined 77-3.
Junior pitcher Avery Flatford won her 20th game of the season without a loss, but she earned it.
Flatford struck out 15 batters, walked six and allowed two hits in going the full seven innings.
The down side was she needed lots of pitches to secure the win — namely 134.
“She did a great job as always,” said Green.
She gave us everything she had, but that was too many (pitches).”
Flatford worked her way out of a big jam in the seventh inning.
She walked the bases full before getting Chesnie Cox on a pop out to third baseman Cameron Young to end the game.
Coffee County stranded eight runners against Flatford.
Young was also involved in perhaps the defensive play of the game in the fourth inning.
After Justus Turner reached on an infield single, Lady Raiders pitcher Keri Munn ripped a base hit to left field.
Farragut outfielder Jordan Kanipe fired a perfect strike to Young at third base, tagging out Turner.
“That was a huge play,” said Green.
“They could have had runners at second and third, but they ended up coming up empty. That was a big deal.”
Farragut jumped on top 1-0 in the third inning.
Lead-off hitter Ace Strickland blasted a triple and scored on Hannah Pfeifer’s infield single.
The Lady Admirals got something going in the fourth when Autumn Caywood and Emily Musco singled.
Strickland’s two-out single over second base plated courtesy runner Vivian Boles to give Farragut a 2-0 cushion.
Strickland went 3 for 4 against the Lady Raiders while Musco was 2 for 3.
“(Strickland) gave us some big at-bats, as usual,” said Green.
“We were definitely better offensively today than we were against Dickson County. We had runners on in almost every inning. I believe that’s the first loss of the year for Munn.”