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District champs flash hardware, fizzle
Fourth win versus FHS gives Bulldogs district tourney title; season ended by KHS

It was an emotional week for the Bearden Bulldogs.

After defeating Farragut to capture the 2006 District 4-AAA Championship last Thursday, the Bulldogs had their season cut short with a 6-3 loss to Karns in a Region 2-AAA semifinal Monday, May 15, at Bearden’s Phil Garner Field.

Karns got one in the first on a fielder’s choice groundball, then Bearden responded in the bottom half of the inning with a run. Beavers pitcher Lee Henry loaded the bases on three consecutive walks and second baseman Kendale Roach hit a sacrifice liner to center.

Jonathon Reynolds’ second-inning solo homerun gave Bearden the 2-1 lead. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases for Wayne Miller, who was walked to bring home the second run of the inning.

Karns brought Keith Ferguson to the mound and he proceeded to shut down the Bearden offense by not allowing a hit until junior shortstop Justin Miller ripped a single to left in the seventh.

While the Bulldogs only managed three hits as a team, the biggest difference in the game was made on the defensive side. Bearden had six errors, surpassing the three total errors in the district tourney. “Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong,” BHS head coach Matt Buckner said. “I don’t know why we didn’t make the plays today ... it’s the nature of the game sometimes. It’s a mean game.”

Karns tied it 3-3 on Heath Cheverton’s fourth inning two-run blast over the left field wall.

The Beavers took the lead in the sixth when an errant throw got away at first base allowing the runner to score from second.

Cheverton’s two-run single in the top of the seventh sealed the deal for the Beavers (27-11).


Despite the abrupt end to the season, 2006 will always be memorable for Buckner and the Bulldogs’ seniors. This year’s team had to most wins in school history, finishing with a 29-11 overall record, not to mention a District 4-AAA championship victory against rival Farragut, who they beat four times this season.

“It’s a tough way to go out, the seniors deserve better than that,” Buckner said after the loss. “They put a lot of hours into it and it’s hard to go out like that. You won’t have many better groups than that group of young men right there.”

Beating Farragut 5-4 in the district championship Thursday, May 11, at South Doyle High School took nine innings and came in dramatic fashion in the bottom half of the ninth.

Leadoff batter William Alexander began the inning with a double into the left-center gap.

After a sacrifice bunt by Justin Miller, intentional walks to Wayne Miller and Kendale Roach loaded the bases and set the stage for 2006 district offensive player of the year Kendal Wells to be a hero.

A deep towering fly ball to left field allowed the winning run to score easily.

“Emotionally it was a hard game with a lot of emotions running high,” Buckner said.

Bearden got off to a fast start by scoring two runs in the first on an RBI single by Roach and a fielder’s choice grounder by Wells.

FHS responded in the third with an RBI single by Ty Nelson to close the deficit 2-1.

Then things got interesting.

With two outs in Bearden’s half of the fifth, Wayne Miller appeared to line out to short. The first base umpire disagreed, and Bearden’s next hitter, Roach, delivered his second RBI single of the game to give Bearden a 3-1 lead.

Then Wells hit a slow grounder to third and was ruled safe at first, allowing an alert Wayne Miller to score what appeared to be a fourth run all the way from second.

Pharr came out to argue for the second time in the inning, and the call was reversed after the home plate umpire ruled Admirals first baseman David Reynolds had tagged out Wells despite an errant throw. This brought Buckner out of the dugout and tempers flared.

Another close play at first base brought Pharr out of the dugout in the sixth, setting the stage for a thrilling conclusion.

Farragut answered in the seventh when Curt Powell tied the game 3-3 with a two-run homer off Andy Fennell, who up until that point had mostly silenced the FHS bats, allowing four hits.

The Bulldogs brought in freshman Garrett Copeland to close the door, but Farragut second baseman Barton Ivy blasted a solo shot over the left field fence to give the Admirals its first lead.

Wells tied the game 4-4 in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single to send the game into extra innings.


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