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Diamond ’Dawgs end 4-season FHS drought

Bearden’s Miller tandem, seniors Wayne and Justin Miller, were grinning from ear to ear about winning their first-ever varsity baseball game against archrival Farragut. While the Millers each homered in the ’Dawgs’ 9-5 victory Wednesday, March 29, at FHS’s John Heatherly Field, Bearden senior right fielder Cameron Bowlin contributed two hits and three RBIs and spoke about how the win — the program’s first since 2001 — will infuse confidence into the team.

Bulldog senior second baseman Kendale Roach, who contributed two hits while scoring a run, summed it all up.

“It’s just a thrill, we’ve worked on this for years,” Roach said. “There’s not one guy on this team that’s wanted it more. This whole bunch has just been striving for this for the last three years, and we finally got over it. Just a thrill to finally get it off our backs.”

Bearden entered the week 12-2 overall, 1-1 in District 4-AAA after the SportsBelle Classic (see related story on page 5B).

The win was also a first against Farragut for BHS head coach Matt Buckner, who gets his initial coaching win against mentor and former boss, Ad head coach Tommy Pharr.

“This is a big step for our program,” Buckner said. “It’s big from a confidence standpoint.”

Proud of the way his team hit the ball in compiling 13 hits, “We had a solid approach at the plate,” Buckner said. ... Our young players stepped up.”

Wayne Miller led the Bulldog offense with three hits, which also included a triple. Justin Miller joined Bowlin and Roach with two hits. Jonathan Reynolds, Matt Scruggs and Taylor Gouffon each had key singles in Bearden’s three-run fifth inning that increased the BHS lead to 7-2. Kendal Wells also had one hit.

Most of the damage was done against FHS pitching staff ace and starter Rob Catapano, who went 4 2/3 innings.

Winning pitcher Andy Fennell went four innings, allowing two runs, five hits and two walks while striking out three.

Reliever Hunter Daniel went the final three, allowing three runs, six hits and three walks while striking out two.

Up 9-2 going to the bottom of the seventh, Farragut made it interesting with a three-run rally that threatened to be more.

After David Reynolds led off with a double, Chip Eskew made it 9-4 with a two-run homer. An error, a walk and a Matt Ramsey RBI single made it 9-5.

“We got tight in the seventh,” Buckner said.

Another Bearden infield error had apparently loaded the bases with one out, which would have brought the tying run to the plate, but a baserunning mistake at second — overrunning the base after the error — resulted in the second out. A ground out ended it.

“They hammered the ball pretty good, they’ve got a good club and got after us pretty good,” Pharr said. Farragut entered the week 9-5 overall, 3-2 in District 4-AAA, entering the week (see related story beginning on page 1B).

Cade Stallings’ two-RBI single in the third cut the BHS lead to 4-2.


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