CAK baseball in 'good spot' despite tournament loss

Christian Academy of Knoxville baseball coach Tommy Pharr wrote off Saturday’s 7-3 loss to Noblesville (Ind.) in the Demarini/Diamond Academy Tournament as a blip on the radar screen.

After all, Pharr couldn’t have asked more of his Warriors (20-4) of late.

CAK had won 17 of 18 games coming into Saturday’s game — and the host Warriors were playing their fourth tournament contest in three games against a quality opponent.

“We battled, but they’ve got a really good club,” said Pharr.

“They’re a big school — I think they’ve got about 2,500 students — and the kid (Garrett Christman) on the mound did a good job.”

Pharr said the hectic tournament schedule the last few days will get his team ready for postseason, which is just around the corner.

“Hopefully it will. It forces us to pitch different people and play good schools. Baseball is a postseason sport, obviously.”

Noblesville (5-2) jumped to a 5-0 lead early and the Warriors were forced to play catch-up. Andrew Wilson set the tone for the game with a lead-off homer to right field.

CAK began to chip away in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Conner Love.

The Warriors pulled closer in the third when John Sharpe dropped in a single with one out. Catcher Zak Osborne followed with a shot over the 350-foot sign in center field to close the gap to 5-3.

Meanwhile, CAK got three strong innings in relief by pitcher Reid Cantrell, who entered in the top of the third for starter Branden Zortman.

Cantrell retired nine consecutive batters and had three strikeouts.

“Reid gave us a chance, but we could never solve their pitcher,” said Pharr.

Christman got stronger as the game wore on for Noblesville, retiring 14 of the final 15 batters he faced. He also fanned seven CAK hitters and scattered seven hits.

Noblesville got a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning on a two-run homer down the left-field line by Vincent Essig.

Despite the loss, Pharr is confident about his team’s postseason chances with district tournament play less than three weeks away.

“We’ve pitched well and played good defense,” said the veteran coach.

“We’ve done a good job and we’ve got a good group of guys. We’re in a good spot.”

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