Matt Buckner goes out on top as Farragut wins third straight title


By Ken Lay

Farragut High School has now won 13 state championships in baseball, including four in the last five completed seasons.

The Admirals might have another championship ring if not for COVID-19, which prematurely ended the 2020 season. They claimed their third consecutive Class 4A State Championship Friday night with a 3-1 victory over Nolensville at Middle Tennessee State University.

Pitcher Cole Draper picked up the win in Farragut’s final game on the big stage under head coach Matt Buckner, who announced his intentions to retire after the game.

Draper hurled a complete game for Farragut (40-5), which didn’t lose a game to an in-state opponent in 2024. He pitched seven innings. He gave up one run, seven hits and two walks. He recorded three strikeouts for the Admirals, who have won all three Class 4A championships in TSSAA history. Farragut also won the Class 3A State Championship in 2019, before finishing as state runner-up in 2021.

Jake Merrick and Lukas Buckner each provided some offensive punches for the Admirals against the Knights in the 2024 season finale. Merrick went 2-for-3. He had a double, and RBI and a run scored. Bucker (the coach’s son), a Mississippi State signee, singled and scored a pair of runs in a game that seemed nearly anticlimactic after the Admirals’ comeback victory over Beach Thursday night at Siegel High School.

In that contest, Farragut erased a 10-8 deficit. The Admirals scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning and notched a 13-10 victory against the Buccaneers as Gavin Brewer had a two-run double and Brennon Seigler drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Eli Evans came up with a scoring double. Charlie Bozeman also had a scoring single in the frame for the Admirals who overcame some shoddy defense, committing six errors against the Knights.

Brewer also hit a home run and ended up with four RBIs in the contest. Michael Delph also doubled and knocked in three runs in the slugfest.

Farragut opened tournament play Tuesday night with an 11-6 victory over the Buccaneers.

Evans and Brewer each hit home runs, while Merrick and Lukas Buckner each came up with doubles. Seigler, meanwhile, had two hits and scored twice.

In its second-round game Wednesday night, Farragut notched a 6-0 win over the host Stars.

University of Tennessee signee Stratton Scott and Braxton Lewis combined for a one-hit shutout against Siegel. Scott got a rare start on the mound. He pitched 6.1 innings and carried a no-hitter into the seventh. He gave out a one-out hit in the frame before giving way to Lewis, who retired the last two Stars’ hitters.

Evans had two hits in the contest, including a home run and a double.

Eagles win two in Class 2A Tournament: The Gibbs Eagles dropped their tournament opener, losing to Tullahoma, 10-1, Tuesday night at Blackman High School. The Eagles managed just three hits against the Tigers. Mason Melton, Talan Owens and Jaydin Ivey all singled in the contest. Ivey drove in the lone Eagles’ run in the game.

But Gibbs would bounce back Wednesday to win twice. The Eagles outlasted Whitehouse, 11-10.

Melton, the Eagles’ leadoff hitter had three hits and scored three runs. Two of his hits went for extra bases as he had a double and a triple. Will Sharp doubled, He also scored and recorded an RBI. Will Price had a hit and two RBIs.

In its third game, Gibbs won a pitcher’s duel. The Eagles edged Dyer County, 1-0.

Will Price started on the mound and went five innings. He gave up four hits and three walks. He struck out four. Jayden Rutherford pitched two innings of scoreless relief. He gave one hit and one walk, while finishing with four strikeouts.

Gibbs scored in the second inning when Ivey plated Sharp with a single.

Gibbs (35-6-1) lost a rematch with Tullahoma Thursday, 7-2, ending its 2024 campaign.