Stewarts Creek’s run in the Class 4A state tournament came to end in the semifinals at the hands of a 6-4 defeat to Farragut at Oakland High School on Thursday.
Stewarts Creek finishes as one of the final four teams in the state in the 4A classification with a tournament record of 2-2.
After falling behind 4-0 in the second inning, and then 6-0 by the fifth, it looked all but over for the Red Hawks. Stewarts Creek managed to find a run in the sixth when Gabriel McLemore hit into a fielder’s choice that sent Coleman Neas to the bag and give the Red Hawks some momentum.
In the seventh inning, Tyler Huskey and Easton Barnett scored early to cut the deficit to 6-3. Neas then hit a triple to send home Ayden Jackson to make it 6-4.
But that’s where the momentum ended, and Farragut’s defense got the final outs of the game.
This season has been special for first-year head coach Brian Howard and a Stewarts Creek squad that has exceeded expectations.
“It’s been fun,” Howard said. “We had a great team last year. My first year taking over, and I think a lot of people expected a fall-off. Thanks to those kids and our assistant coaches there wasn’t a fall-off. They won 31 games this year. That’s hard to do in 4A baseball.”
“We expected to win the whole thing,”senior Tayden Mounivong said. “That was our goal. Everybody doubted us, but we knew how good of a team we were, and honestly, we expected to win the whole thing.
“We lost a lot of guys from last year. Everybody thought we weren’t going to be good, but we made it further than last year. I think what’s really special about this group is that our bond is out of this world.”
The group’s on-field chemistry has helped guide them through districts, regions and now the state tournament and is a reflection of their deep friendships off the field. Howard and Mounivong both shared favorite memories of being a part of this team.
“Honestly, probably just hanging out with them,” Mounivong said. “We had so much fun not playing baseball together, but it was even more fun playing baseball with the same group of guys.”
“Probably the stupid stuff, like doing yoga in the weight room,” Howard said. “And during the FIFA World Cup playing soccer in the infield. They just know how to have fun, but also get their work in.”