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Ford, pitching pair lead BHS to 3-1 baseball start

If Friday’s chilly temperatures could not cool down Bearden senior Ryan Ford’s bat, Lenoir City’s pitching staff didn’t stand a chance.

The Bearden shortstop and MTSU signee hit his third home run in four games, knocking in three runs in Bearden’s 4-0 District 4-AAA win against the Panther’s at BHS’s Phil Garner Field Friday, March 13.

As first reported on Farragut First Edition, March 13, Ford started the scoring early after Jacob “Taco” Edwards walked and stole second base. He took third after a pass ball before Ford drove him home with an RBI single.

Senior Garrett Copeland followed Ford’s third-inning homer with one of his own, giving starting pitcher Ryan Potter plenty of breathing room as he cruised to his second victory of the week.

Potter, a senior, was dominant in the outing lasting five innings and allowing only three hits, including a couple of shallow bloopers to left field and an infield single that bounced over his head, just out of his reach.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Potter said. “The umpire helped me out tonight, too. I was able to keep the ball down and good things happened.”

Head coach Matt Buckner saw both positives and negatives in the win. “Both guys [Potter and reliever Dakota Stallings] pitched real well. I’m very happy with how they threw. We have to do a better job at the plate, though.

“This was not a guy who should over-power us, but he did,” Buckner added about Lenoir City starting pitcher Tyler Sams.

Stallings took the mound for the Bulldogs in the sixth inning and things did not get any easier for the Panthers.

Despite a leadoff single and two walks to load the bases, Stallings found his groove and retired the next five batters he faced, including a trio of strikeouts to close the game out in the seventh.

Ford has started the season red hot with two home runs, a triple and “probably a half dozen stolen bases, at least,” Buckner said about BHS’s first three games.

Further describing Ford’s outstanding play, Buckner had a simple observation. “He is a really good player,” the coach said. “He really works hard at improving his game.”

The ’Dawgs shortstop shared some insight about his torrid start. “I feel like I am really seeing the ball well and my timing has been right from the start,” he said.

The Bulldogs (3-1 overall, 2-1 in district) are in Gulf Shores, Ala. during Spring Break to play in the Gulf Shores Tournament. When they return they face district opponents Heritage, at BHS March 23, then head down the Pike to archrival Farragut March 25.


Bearden opened with a 7-3 district home win versus William Blount March 9. “Ryan Potter pitched really well, at least eight or nine strikeouts,” Buckner said of Potter’s five scoreless innings.

The Bulldogs then traveled to Seymour March 10 and won 14-6 before being “upset” by district foe Sevier County 11-10 at Phil Garner Field March 11.

“We hit Sevier County, we made some mental errors and I wouldn’t say we pitched very well,” the coach said. Garrett Sale homered against the Smoky Bears.

Individually, Buckner said Copeland, who homered versus Seymour, along with Greenway, Edwards and Jonathan Elmore “have swung the bat pretty well.”


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