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Bearden goes 2-2 in SportsBelle Classic

The rollercoaster ride continues for the Bearden Bulldogs baseball team, but head coach Matt Buckner feels it’s only a matter of time before things smooth out.

The Bulldogs opened the SportsBelle Classic Thursday, April 5, with a 10-7 win against Bryan Station at Farragut High School. Junior Dawson Halliday hit a home run in the top of the seventh to tie the game and send it to extra innings. Zac Fine picked up the win in relief.

Bearden started Friday morning with a 7-6 loss to Baylor at University of Tennessee’s Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Bulldogs took a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh but three errors allowed the lead to slip away fast despite a strong pitching effort from junior Hunter Daniel.

“Hunter Daniel pitched an absolute jewel,” Buckner said. “That was a pretty crushing defeat.”

Bearden rebounded quickly from its loss and put on an offensive show against Riverdale in the nightcap Friday, April 6, at Bearden’s Phil Garner Field.

The Bulldogs scored 10 first inning runs en route to an 18-4 blowout versus Riverdale. Bryant Walker and Garrett Copeland hit grand slams and Walker added a two-run home run to lead the hit parade. Andy Fennell got the win on the mound in a five-inning complete game.

“We had a sit down and we got it back together and we played really well that night against Riverdale,” Buckner said. “That is the best we swung it all year.”

The Bulldogs closed out the tournament with an 8-7 loss to Anderson County Saturday night , April 7, at BHS.

Walker hit a home run and Justin Miller doubled for Bearden, but early mistakes put them behind from the start.

“We had some trouble fielding bunts and we got too far behind to bring it back,” Buckner said. “We made several key mistakes early in the ballgame that cost us the ball game in the end.”

“We were four-and-three on the week and if we make a couple of plays we are six-and-one,” Buckner added. “But we’re not and we are trying to get better.”

Entering the week the Bulldogs have an overall record of 14-9 and 3-3 in District 4-AAA.

“It’s a rollercoaster ride, but I still feel like by the end we are going to get it together,” the coach said. “We are still making too many mistakes for it to be this late in the year. But I feel like we’ve got enough baseball players that we can get it together.

“But we better start doing it soon because its getting a little bit too late. But this team has good character and hopefully that will mean something in the end.”

Despite the up-and-down week, Buckner was pleased with how sophomore Ryan Ford played throughout the tournament.

“Ryan Ford had two hits in every game this weekend and he played really well,” Buckner said. “He added a good spark.”

Earlier in the week Bearden hosted East Paulding (Ga.) on Tuesday and came out with an 8-7 win in nine innings. Josh Hullett pitched eight innings and Zac Fine pitched the ninth to earn the win.

Dylan Highsmith doubled and Dawson Halliday hit a triple to lead the offense.

“That’s one of the best ballgames we played all week,” Buckner said. “Josh Hullett threw really well.”

The Bulldogs opened the week with a 5-4 win against Sevier County Monday at BJS. Andy Fennell was the winning pitcher.


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