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Buckner, BHS baseball fight frustration of close losses


Bearden head coach Matt Buckner described his baseball team’s 16-0 blowout loss to powerful archrival Farragut April 7 as a “surgical beating.”

Then came a pair of heartbreaking losses during the Sports Belle Invitational late last week.


For Buckner and his Bulldogs, who entered the week with a 6-12 overall record (0-6 in District 4-AAA) the frustration can’t be hidden.

“We played good (last) weekend, but right now we’re finding ways to lose,” the Bearden skipper said about a 9-8 loss to Mt. Juliet last Thursday at Farragut followed by a 9-7 setback to Nashville John Overton Friday at BHS’s Phil Garner Field.

A tough week that saw the Bulldogs go 0-6 ended Saturday morning with a 7-1 loss to Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett in UT’s Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

MT. JULIET 9 BHS 8

Thanks to five runs in the third inning, Bearden built a 6-3 lead until Mt. Juliet scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth to go ahead 8-6. But RBI singles by Cameron Bowlin and Aaron Hall tied the game 8-8 in the top of the seventh. Wayne Miller’s double and Andrew Smith’s single also aided the rally.

“Mount Juliet’s a really good ballclub, and we played ’em well, we hit the ball really well, we pitched OK,” Buckner said. “We were in a position to win, but we didn’t win … we didn’t make a few plays, that’s basically what it comes down to.

“Ben Irwin pitched great on Thursday night,” the BHS skipper added, as Irwin pitched 4 1/3 innings. “He put us in a position to win by throwing up a good ballgame. Our defense let us down.” Reliever Kendale Roach took the loss.

Offensively, Miller and William Alexander led the way with three hits each. Hall added two hits and a sacrifice bunt.

OVERTON 9 BHS 7

“It was the same thing against Overton on Friday,” Buckner said. “We played well, we had ’em down, we didn’t make a couple of plays, they came back.

“Our pitchers put us in position to win both of those games, but we didn’t make the plays (defensively) to win the games.”

The score sheet told the story defensively, as the Bulldogs committed five errors Friday.

Michal Grivetti’s two-run homer highlighted a four-run fourth-inning as Bearden built a 6-1 lead.

Bowlin’s solo homer in the sixth inning made it 7-2 before the Bobcats rallied with four runs in the bottom of the sixth.

A pair of home runs propelled Overton to victory with its last at-bat in the seventh.

Starter Hall (four innings) and losing pitcher Bryan Jester combined to allow eight hits and four walks while striking out four. Hall allowed only one earned run.

Offensively, Roach, Miller and Kendal Wells each had two hits. Wells added two RBIs.

“We’ve lost seven or eight games in the seventh inning,” Buckner said. “It’s frustrating, but I know we’re right there. We’ve just got to turn the corner.

“There’s been a few times where we’ve pitched well but we haven’t hit well, or we’ve hit really well but we haven’t played defense,” the coach added. “It’s like we can’t put all three together at the same time.”

Individually, “our catcher (Brett Basham) is playing well,” Buckner said. “Several of our sophomores are really hitting the ball well, Wayne Miller, Kendale Roach — he’s hitting the ball as well as anybody we’ve got — and William Alexander, I think he’s leading our team in hitting.”

FHS 16 BHS 0

Bearden’s highlight in its April 7 drubbing against the defending Class AAA state champs and current No. 1 Admirals was Basham’s two hits. Smith added a double.

 

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