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Sixth-inning explosion rallies ’Dawgs past Ads

For Bearden’s big lefty, first baseman Kendal Wells, it was all about having fun.

With Bearden down 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning against rival Farragut, the senior waited for his chance to get up to bat. Farragut’s left-handed ace Rob Catapano came to the mound in relief of starter Matt Ramsey with bases loaded and one out.

Wells knew it was time.

After working the count to 2-2, Wells saw a fastball and hit it in the right-center alley, clearing the bases and landing him on second base with a double.

That was all the insurance Bearden needed as they defeated Farragut 5-4 Monday, April 24, at Bearden’s Phil Garner Field.

Deep down Wells knew he was going to have to face Catapano, but he was up for the challenge.

“It was fun, I’m just glad I got the chance to hit,” Wells said. “I knew he was warming up in the bullpen, I figured they would go lefty on lefty and I just guessed fastball and hit it.”

The inning started with a groundout, but three consecutive infield singles and a walk off Ramsey set the stage for the big hit.

“They got bases loaded and didn’t hit the ball out of the infield, that was huge,” Farragut head coach Tommy Pharr said. “We were unable to come in and make a pitch and the kid got a pretty decent pitch to hit and hit it well.”

Prior to that inning, Ramsey had shut down the Bearden offense, allowing only three hits and one run that came in the first inning from a solo homerun by Wayne Miller.

“They just did a great job today, Matt Ramsey held us down for a long time,” Bearden head coach Matt Buckner said. “That’s a good high school baseball game.”

Bearden’s starting pitcher Hunter Daniel started the game brilliantly, but he too found trouble in the sixth. After both teams got on the board in the first inning, the game remained a 1-1 tie until the sixth.

Farragut’s Chip Eskew led off the top of the sixth with a grounder to shortstop Justin Miller, but he misplayed it allowing Eskew to reach first safely. Ty Nelson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position.

After an intentional walk to Cade Stallings, Catapano hit a RBI-single to give FHS a one-run advantage, which ended the night for Daniel on the mound.

The Bulldogs brought in Andy Fennell to face Ramsey. Ramsey doubled and drove home two to give FHS the 4-1 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning.

“Our pitchers did a good job, they kept us right where we needed to be,” Buckner said. “We had that one little rough inning but they did a good enough job to win and they are growing up, they are young but they did a good job.”

After Bearden scored four in the sixth, Fennell got the final three outs to secure the victory. “Two good teams, well played game, that is what high school baseball is supposed to be right there,” Buckner said. “That’s fun baseball and its fun to be a part of.”

Bearden’s overall record improves to 22-7 and 8-3 in District 4-AAA as of Monday. Farragut’s record drops to 18-11 overall and 7-5 in the district.

“Wins like that are going to really go a long way in the future. I am proud of them and I’m excited about the tournament,” Buckner said. “We are on a good note right now and anytime we beat Farragut twice in a year I will be happy because it is generally not going to happen very often.”

(See related story, page 20A)


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