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’Dawgs extend streak versus ’06 state champs in diamond rival opener


After losing nine seniors and seven position starters from last year’s team, the Bearden Bulldogs relied on pitching rather than the hefty bats from a year ago in the season opener against archrival Farragut.

It took nine innings, but the Bulldogs outlasted the Admirals for a 3-2 victory Monday, March 12, at Bearden’s Phil Garner Field.


Bearden junior Dylan Highsmith led -off the bottom of the ninth with a double and scored the winning run on an RBI single from Taylor Gouffon. Highsmith, who was a ninth inning substitution at second base, replaced Brent Scarbrough who came into the game after starter Kamryn Roach left with a knee injury in the second inning.

“Dylan Highsmith had a monster double, that’s the play of the game right there,” Bearden head coach Matt Buckner said. “To come in and hit in a pressure situation late in the game, he did a phenomenal job.”

The ’Dawgs extend its win streak versus the defending Class AAA state champions to five spanning two seasons.

After stranding numerous base runners throughout the game, it was the pitching that kept the Bulldogs in the game.

Starter Hunter Daniel pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out seven.

Daniel was replaced by Drake Little, who closed out the final 3 2/3 innings by striking out four while only allowing one hit. “If you pitch you always have a chance to win,” Buckner said. “Drake Little came in and slammed the door and Hunter was good too. ...”

The Bulldogs stranded six runners in scoring position throughout the game.

“We blew some opportunities early in the game to score some runs,” the coach said. “It’s good to get the conference win against a good baseball team, so we will take it. I’m not saying I am completely satisfied with it, but I am satisfied with the win. I thought early on we had a chance to really put it to them, but we didn’t.”

Farragut took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Michael Williams drove in Curt Powell on a sacrifice groundout.

Bearden responded in the bottom of the second when Bryant Walker and Jonathan Byrd hit solo homeruns to give BHS a 2-1 lead.

The Admirals tied the game in the fourth with a Jordan Cooper double down the left field line that drove in Perry Griffin from first after he reached on an error.

Farragut received solid performances on the mound as well. Starter Hunter Newby was replaced in the bottom of the third by sidearm right-hander Shane Glarrow, who shut down the Bulldogs until running into trouble in the ninth. He was replaced by Mac Thoreson.

Glarrow received the loss, but FHS head coach Tommy Pharr was pleased with Glarrow and Newby.

“Shane did a great job, he gave us a chance but we couldn’t get a big hit,” the coach said. “Our guys threw well. Hunter gave up a couple balls, but I thought both of them threw well. They pitched last year some, but it is really their first time in a big atmosphere, so I thought they did well.”

For Bearden, it’s huge to start the season versus its biggest rival.

“It is a good way to start the year,” Little said. “It’s a good win because we know a lot of players over there and there was some adrenaline pumping from the first moment we stepped on the field to the last.

“We lost a lot of power hitters from last year but I think our pitching is more mature this year and that will hold us in ballgames,” the senior added.

The Admirals played without junior pitcher Matt Ramsey and sophomore third baseman Cade Stallings who were left out of the lineup due to disciplinary reasons.

“It’s a big game our kids get up and probably put too much pressure on themselves but it’s a good ballgame and a good atmosphere,” Pharr said. “We hate that we had to lose but we have got a long way to go and we will see how it ends up.”

 

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