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Bulldogs stay unbeaten, whipping McMinn plus routs

For Bearden senior shortstop Justin Miller, baseball is all about having fun.

The MTSU signee led the ’Dawgs to a 4-3 victory against McMinn County in the second game of a double-header Saturday, March 17, at BHS’s Phil Garner Field.

Miller gave BHS (5-0 record entering the week) a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run to left. The blast ignited a Bearden offense that, up to that point, had only one hit.

“I tried to relax, have some fun, swing at good pitches and hit the ball hard,” Miller said. “It put us up and that got everybody back in the game. We weren’t really hitting the ball that well but that hit kind of brought everybody back and got us hyped again.”

After an infield single by junior Bryant Walker two batters later, Dawson Halliday launched a homerun to dead center to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.

Bearden senior starter Drake Little cruised through the first four innings on the mound but ran into trouble in the fifth after a pair of defensive mishaps allowed McMinn to load the bases and tie the game 3-3.

Little, who racked up nine strikeouts through 4 1/3 innings, was replaced by junior Hunter Daniel who put out the fire by getting the final two outs of the inning with two strikeouts.

“Our pitching has been phenomenal, so if we get a few runs here and there our pitching will take care of the rest,” Miller said.

Miller led off the sixth with what proved to be the game-winning home run. The senior took the first pitch he saw and hit it to almost the same spot as his earlier blast.

“Justin Miller is a good player and good players make plays,” BHS head coach Matt Buckner said. “He hit a home run earlier a mile and he hit that one a mile. He’s got a chance to be as good as anybody that has ever played here at Bearden High School.”

Bearden senior Taylor Gouffon closed out the game on the mound with two strikeouts and an infield pop-up.

“Overall we played well and we pitched well,” Buckner said. “Drake came in and was good even though the wheels kind of fell off there in the fifth. Taylor came in and slammed the door and Hunter was able to bridge the gap a little bit.”

In the earlier game Bearden won 6-1 after a solid pitching effort from junior Andy Fennell. Fennell pitched five innings and allowed the only run on a solo hom erun. Josh Hullet pitched a perfect sixth and Gouffon closed out the game in the seventh.

“Overall I am really pleased,” Buckner said. “I think everybody on our team played a little bit today and everybody contributed.”


Walker got the win on the mound in a 9-0 rain-shortened five-inning complete game effort against Loudon Thursday, March 15, at BHS. Walker helped his own cause with a home run while Miller and Matt Scruggs added home runs to lead the offense.


Bearden jumped out early with seven runs in the first inning to cruise past Lenoir City 10-0 Wednesday, March 14 at BHS.

Hullett got the win on the mound with four innings of work and Zac Fine closed out the game in the fifth without allowing a hit.


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