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Bulldogs’ season surprisingly ended by Lenoir City

Lenoir City’s Will Ervin proved to be too much for the Bearden Bulldogs to handle.

The senior right-hander pitched a three-hit shutout and hit a two-run home run to lead the No. 8-seeded Panthers to a 3-0 win versus the No. 4 Bulldogs in the District 4-AAA tournament Saturday, May 6, at South-Doyle High School.

Dawson Halliday had two of Bearden’s three hits, including a double. Garrett Copeland added a double for the Bulldogs, who never seemed comfortable at the plate against Ervin.

Ervin struck out five, walked one and hit one batter in the stellar performance.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Bearden head coach Matt Buckner said. “I’m shocked, obviously.”

Bearden starter Josh Hullet balked in a run to give Lenoir City a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Ervin’s two-run home run in the third put the Panthers up 3-0.

“We picked a good time to plummet,” Buckner said. “We played terrible in the district tournament.”

The defending 4-AAA tourney champion, BHS finishes 24-14.

“It just never went right,” Buckner said. “I felt like we didn’t have very good chemistry and things kept going wrong and wrong and they just multiplied times seventy-five today.

“It wasn’t what I expected.”

In the first round, the Bulldogs lost to fifth-seeded Maryville 14-5 Friday, May 4. Halliday hit a double and a home run to lead Bearden.

BHS senior shortstop Justin Miller missed the Maryville game because of surgery to repair his broken nose from a late April game.

Despite the short-season, Buckner was pleased with the leadership from seniors Miller, Drake Little, Zac Fine and Craig Jenkins.

Miller, who signed with Middle Tennessee State University, was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs. The senior finished ’07 with a .414 batting average and 10 home runs.

“Justin is a good baseball player,” Buckner said. “I would take one of Justin Miller every day and he is the kind of ballplayer you want to build your team around. He is a great young man, a quality individual.”

Miller said BHS “had a pretty good season and played well as a team, but unfortunately things didn’t turn out for us. I am so glad [Buckner] has been here all four years I have been here because he has helped me out a ton.

“He has been a great coach and I am so glad I got to play for him.”

As for the other seniors, “Drake threw some good innings throughout the year,” Buckner said. “Craig Jenkins and Zac Fine played some good spot time.”


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