By DAVE LINK
Farragut’s baseball team could have won the Class AAA state championship Friday.
The Admirals’ 2020 roster was loaded with college-bound players, starting with a pitching staff of four Division I signees and three junior-college signees.
Senior right-hander Ryan Hagenow, a Kentucky signee and potential first-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, was the ace of the staff and the 2019 5Star Preps Pitcher of the Year.
Farragut’s other Division I pitcher signees were left-handers Adam Birkholz and Hunter Merrick, both headed to ETSU, and left-hander Drew Patterson, a Tennessee signee.
And the Admirals had history on their side – 10 state championships and 19 state appearances – including the 2019 state title when they finished 42-3 under head coach Matt Buckner.
Buckner has won four Class AAA state titles at Farragut, starting with back-to-back titles in his first two seasons (2010-11), another one in 2014, and last year’s. He was an assistant coach at Farragut on the 2003 state championship team coached by Tommy Pharr. Buckner spent the next six seasons as Bearden’s coach (2004-09) – leading the team to a state appearance in 2009 – before taking over as Farragut’s head coach to replace Pharr.
The Admirals will always wonder about the 2020 season, what might have happened, and they are far from alone. Most every high school team in the nation is wondering what they could have done this spring.
More than two months have passed since spring sports were cancelled due to the coronavirus, and 5Star Preps asked Buckner a few questions about the spring without baseball.
Here’s what he said…