Farragut overcomes FT issues, tops Young

Farragut overcomes FT issues, tops Young

Sunday, March 13, 2011
12:45 a.m.
By Seamus Brennan
Yourseason.com

Despite its free throw woes down the stretch, No. 7 Farragut did just enough to defeat No. 8 Young 44-42 to win the 4A York Sectional Friday night.

The Admirals (24-4) shot 2-for-8 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and 8-for-18 on the night.

It wasnt easy for me on the sidelines watching those free throws, said Farragut coach William Nelson.

Alphonse Matthews went to the line with 5.5 seconds left in regulation with Farragut leading 43-42. But Matthews missed both and Young rebounded and called a timeout to draw up a play with 3.8 seconds to go.

But Luke Hagers baseball pass was intercepted and Jonathan Collins got sent to the line with 2.5 seconds left. Collins made the first then missed the second, but DJ Tolliver secured the offensive rebound and the victory.

Sectional champs, Nelson said. That has a nice ring to it. But the goal from Day 1 has been to win the state championship so we still got work to do.

Both teams went back and forth all night with a total of 13 lead changes throughout the contest. The Dolphins biggest lead was seven points when they led 23-16 with 1:35 left in the second quarter. But Farragut trimmed its deficit to three by going on a 4-0 run to close the half.

We were able to contain their bigs tonight, Nelson said. Our smaller bigs did a good job.

Youngs big men, Tommy Hamilton and Jahlil Okafor, were held to a combined six points in the first half. But Hamilton went off in the second half, scoring nine points and helped get Young a 37-31 lead in the third quarter.

But that lead would not stick.

The Admirals went on a 7-1 run to close the third quarter with Gabe Williams scoring five points during the stretch. Williams and Collins led Farragut with 11 points each.

We got just enough guard play out of Williams and Tolliver to win, Nelson said. Theyve both been big for us all year.

The Dolphins (20-11) had its chances to steal the win, but free-throw problems of their own plagued them. Young went 2-for-6 in the fourth quarter and 7-for-17 overall.

Hamilton led Young with 12 points. Ohio State-bound Sam Thompson was held to two points.

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White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

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The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”