Serrano back just in time
By Dave Link
Junior right-hander Kyle Serrano couldn’t have timed his return to the Farragut High School pitching staff any better.
Serrano (3-0), who missed most of the regular season with a rib injury, allowed four hits in six innings Monday night as the Admirals beat visiting Halls 5-4 in the Region 2-AAA elimination semifinals.
His return about three weeks ago came just before an arm injury put Farragut junior Eric Freeman out of action before the District 4-AAA tournament.
“I was just hoping for the best,” Serrano said, “hoping that I was going to be able to come back in time for this (postseason).”
Farragut (33-6) will play host to rival Bearden on Wednesday at 6:30 for the region championship and home-field advantage in Friday’s state sectionals, in which winners advance to next week’s state tournament in Murfreesboro.
“I felt like we played a little tight,” Farragut coach Matt Buckner said. “We swung at a lot of balls out of the zone, but we won. At this point in the year, that’s all that matters. (Halls) did a good job. They really battled. The pitcher battled.”
Halls senior left-hander Grant Painter (11-2) threw a seven-hitter, struck out nine, walked four (two intentional), and hit a batter.
Serrano, son of Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano (who was at the game), gave up all four runs (three earned), struck
out six and walked four (one intentional). Senior A.J. Simcox, the starting shortstop, took over at the start of the seventh and retired the side in order.
“We got after it tonight,” Halls coach Doug Polston said. “We made some adjustments at the plate. Give Serrano credit. He did a fantastic job getting out ahead of us, and we finally made some adjustments and made a game out of it.”
David Logan had an RBI single in the third, and another run scored on a wild pitch as Farragut took a 2-0 lead.
Halls (27-7) got an RBI fielder’s choice by Thomas Corcione that cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fourth, and Clay Walker’s solo homer in the fifth tied it.
Nick Senzel’s two-run homer and Brett Hagenow’s RBI double put Farragut up 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
Ryan Galyon hit a two-run double and Halls trailed 5-4 after six innings. Simcox then closed it out.
“(Halls) wouldn’t ever go away,” Buckner said. “They gave us all we wanted, for sure, and then some.”
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.