"I thought with his guts and heart, he’d give us our best chance," Coach Purvis said. "I didn’t expect him to go seven innings.
"I thought I could use Haydel in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but Ethan settled in."
The win marked Farragut’s second consecutive state title and fifth over the past seven seasons — putting wrap on a superb 39-5 year.
Mt. Juliet, the District 9AAA and Region 5AAA champions, sacked up the bats with a 31-13 worksheet.
Showing no ill effects from an early season shoulder injury, Gross befuddled the Admirals all afternoon, scattering six hits while inducing seemingly dozens of grounders by mixing up running two and four-seam fastballs.
Gross (0-2) didn’t walk a batter over his seven inning stint. He helped his own cause with a solo homer to lead off the second innings, cutting Farragut’s lead in half at 2-1.
Neither team mustered much the rest of the way in offense as Gross and Farragut’s sophomore ace Philip Pfeifer chewed up the hitters.
Besides the Gross homer, Mt. Juliet managed just four other hits, singles by Matt Owens, Haydel, Justin Lopez and Ryan Bretell.
All told, the game was over a mere 70 minutes after its 5 p.m. start.
Mt. Juliet rebounded from an 0-2 showing in last year’s tournament to push Farragut for seven innings.
"We just wanted a chance," Coach Purvis said. "And we got that chance. I told them to walk out with their heads held high," Purvis added. "It was an incredible run. I don’t know that we’ll ever get back here. It’s hard to do. I think we’re building a program that can contend every year."