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Sizzling Diamond Dawgs zoom to 19-1

The chemistry keeps getting stronger for the Bearden Bulldogs baseball team as it completes another unbeaten week. Bearden capped off its week with a 14-2 win versus McMinn County, Saturday, April 12, at Karns High School.

As BHS’s record improved to 19-1 on the season, the Bulldogs pointed to one thing when it concerns their success this season: team chemistry.

“That’s one thing that we were lacking last year,” Bulldogs senior Matthew Scruggs said. “Being our senior year, our chemistry needs to be perfect and we work on that in practice and we put it into play when we come out to the field.”

Behind an 11-run fourth inning, the Bulldogs put away McMinn in five innings of work. Bearden trailed 2-0 heading into the inning, but after a Ryan Ford RBI-single closed the deficit 2-1, Scruggs gave the Bulldogs a 5-2 lead with a grandslam home run to left.

“Matthew Scruggs really broke that game open with a grandslam,” BHS head coach Matt Buckner said. “He’s been doing real well. He has been swinging the bat real well.”

With bases loaded and only one out, Scruggs knew all he had to do was put the ball in play somewhere in the outfield. The result was his seventh home run of the season and third of the week.

“I just wanted to get the bat on the ball and put it in the outfield and just see what would happen,” the senior said.

The scoring continued as Hunter Daniel walked in a run. Jacob Edwards then hit a ball to center that was misjudged and three runs scored to make it 9-2. Sean Greenway followed with an RBI single and Ford drove in the inning’s final run with a double to make it 11-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

Bearden’s Mark Lail walked in a run the following inning to make it 12-2 and consecutive walks drawn by Edwards and Greenway brought in the final two runs.

Josh Hullett earned the win on the mound in a complete game five inning effort. The senior gave up four hits while striking out two and walking one.

Bearden opened the morning with an 11-1 win against Karns.

Andy Fennell got the win on the mound, and even though he wasn’t at his best the ’Dawgs had plenty of run support thanks to two home runs from Dawson Halliday and one from Jonathan Byrd.

“Jonathan Byrd had a big home run in the first game that put us up and Dawson had a grandslam,” Buckner said. “Those two home runs were huge in that part of the game.”

Fennell pitched six innings before Ryan Potter came in to close out the seventh.

“Andy didn’t have his greatest stuff, but he really battled and pitched well,” Buckner said.

Defense also has been a strong point to the success of the Bulldogs. Aside from an error in the outfield when Halliday and Scruggs collided and a ball dropped between them, Bearden was error-free on the day.

“That was miscommunication right there, we did have one error, but that didn’t really matter,” Buckner said. “We played good defense all day, so I will take that all day long.”

With some challenging games ahead as the season winds down toward tournament time, the Bulldogs are hoping team unity will keep them playing strong.

“I feel like we are progressing and doing some good things,” Buckner said. “We feel our team has real good chemistry and they feel real good about themselves right now.”


The Bulldogs beat Jefferson County 12-0 on the road Thursday, April 10. Bryant Walker hit two home runs and Scruggs had one.


Bearden beat South Doyle 11-5 Wednesday, April 9, at home. Daniel got the win on the mound in five innings of work. Garrett Copeland homered and doubled to lead the offense. Scruggs hit a home run and Walker doubled.


Bearden needed extra innings to beat Maryville 5-2, Monday, April 7, at Maryville College.

Fennell struck out 11 hitters in seven innings. Taylor Gouffon was hit by a pitch to bring home the run that sent it into extra innings before Gouffon went out and earned the win on the mound by pitching a scoreless eighth.


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