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Bucker’s Bulldogs look to roll with experience
Bearden preview

With an experienced club, the 2006 Bearden Bulldogs baseball team hopes to improve on its 26-9 record from a year ago.

With nearly every starter returning, Bulldogs head coach Matt Buckner is optimistic about his team’s chances this season.

The only new starter will be senior catcher Jonathan Reynolds, who will be replacing standout Brett Basham who is currently playing for the University of Mississippi.

The infield will consist of senior Kendal Wells at first base, senior Kendale Roach at second base, senior Wayne Miller at third base and junior Justin Miller at shortstop.

Senior’s William Alexander and Cameron Bowlin will team up with sophomore Dawson Halliday in the outfield.

“We have ten seniors and I like all of them and they have done a good job of leading by example,” said Buckner, who is in his third year as BHS head coach. “I do like our kids, they practice well and I think they do a good job. The important thing is I think we have a lot of kids that love baseball.”

The Bulldogs’ pitching staff will be anchored by senior Chris Goetze. Currently, Goetze is recovering from an arm injury but when he is healthy, the BHS skipper expects big things.

“Chris Goetze was one of main inning eaters last year and he was probably our best last year, but right now he is going through some injury problems so at this point we are trying to get him healthy,” Buckner said.

In the meantime, sophomore Hunter Daniel will be looked at as the number one option. Sophomore Andy Fennell, who is currently still playing basketball, will be one of the Bulldogs’ top pitchers. Freshman Garrett Copeland looks to add some innings as a starter this year and shows a bright future according Buckner.

Seeing time on the mound in relief will be senior Tony Morgan, junior Drake Little, sophomore Taylor Gouffan and freshman Justin Bliss.

Sophomores Josh Hullet and Craig Jenkins will also see some time on the mound this year.

“I think our strength is we are pretty experienced, we have six or seven three-year starters,” Buckner said. “I think we have good depth in our pitching staff right now, I’m not sure we have that standout number one guy like a [Ryan] Holland (South Doyle) or [Rob] Catapano (Farragut) but I really like our depth and I really like our staff.

“I think we are a good hitting ball club, we do a good job with the bats we have always done a pretty good job competing at the plate, and in the middle of our lineup, we have some guys that I think are really good hitters.”

As for team goals, the Bulldogs hope to have a big year, especially late in the season.

“We would like to win the district and we would like to win thirty games,” Buckner said. “Last year we had a good year but we kind of faltered at the end.

“And this year we talked about being ready to be a peak performer at the end. Being a guy who can really step it up at the end and finishing strong instead of starting strong, we just talked about finishing strong.”

Other Bulldogs hoping to contribute are senior pitcher Andrew Baker, sophomore outfielder Matt Scruggs, junior catcher Dylan Highsmith and junior pitcher/outfielder Andew Poche.

BHS assistant coaches are Jack Tate and Buddy Wilker.


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