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Dawgs no-hit Ads, claim Sportsbelle crown
BHS’s Hamilton shuts down Farragut in just his second-ever start


Chris Hamilton, relatively inexperienced Bearden High School sophomore pitcher, started against mighty defending Class AAA state champ and nationally ranked Farragut in the Sportsbelle Classic title game.

It was a one-sided match-up. Hamilton, in only his second-ever varsity start, shocked most everyone in Tennessee’s Lindsey Nelson Stadium by firing a no-hitter.

As first reported on Farragut First Edition, www.farragutpress.com, a big Bulldog offensive uprising in the sixth inning colored the Sportsbelle crown Maroon and Gray after a 4-0 BHS win Saturday evening, April 4.


Ranking his all-time sports accomplishments, “It’s No. 1,” said Hamilton, who allowed just three walks while striking out four. “Pitching against these guys, it was awesome.

“All my pitches were working good, threw a curve ball, change-up, fastball,” Hamilton added. “Everything was right in the zone.”

While Bearden’s record improved to 17-6 (4-2 in District 4-AAA), FHS drops to 18-4, 6-0 in 4-AAA.

“To pitch against these guys you’ve got to have everything working,” Hamilton said. “You’ve got to have confidence.”

Matt Bucker, BHS head coach, said Hamilton “did a really good job, I’m proud of him. Threw the ball well.”

Was Hamilton’s effort a surprise? “Absolutely, he’s a sophomore on big stage,” Buckner said. “But he had great composure.”

Meanwhile, Farragut freshman starter Alexander Taylor almost was matching Hamilton’s success through five innings: no runs, three hits, one walk, three Ks.

Then came the BHS sixth. Ryan Ford singled and Garrett Copeland was beaned before Ryan Potter’s single down the third-base line scored Ford, making it 1-0.

Garrett Sale, one of Bearden’s heroes in a dramatic 8-5 eight-inning come-from-behind semifinal win versus McCallie earlier Saturday, singled home two more.

“Garrett played great today,” Buckner said about his starting second baseman. “Played great defense, had a big hit when they brought the infield in, he hit the ball up the middle. Had some guys have some big hits today.”

Sale’s lunging stop of a grounder with two outs in the bottom of the seventh versus McCallie kept the Blue Tornado from bringing in the winning run from third.

Chase Keen’s RBI single ended the scoring against Farragut. Ford, Copeland and Mark Lail each had singles in the first five innings.

“Once we got four I knew I could throw anything,” Hamilton said. “A four-run spot is a good cushion. Put the ball in play and you’ve got good ‘D’ guys behind you.

“Beating them, our No. 1 rival, it feels awesome.”

About beating Farragut, Ford said, “We’ve always felt all year like we could play with ’em. We came out and we made plays behind Chris, he pitched a really great game. We got some big hits.”

Buckner said Hamilton learned a lot from his first start, the Gulf Shores (Ala.) Tournament title game loss where “he got roughed up … six runs in two innings.

FHS head coach Tommy Pharr said Hamilton “wore us out, wore us out, dominated us. made us look like a J-V team.

“Just a good dose of humble pie right there,” the FHS skipper added. “You’ve got to come ready to play. He was, we weren’t.”

Buckner said his team has “good heart, good character, fights hard. We make mistakes, but they really fight. They really want to win.”

Pharr said “‘Zander’ did a great job. Threw the ball well. That was a good experience for him to be in a big game. … I probably left him out there too long.

“They’ve got a good club.”

Both teams had been struggling a bit despite reaching the Sportsbelle title game. Both lost a non-Classic game versus Mater Dei (Ind.) — the Ads 11-6 Saturday morning at FHS and Bearden 14-0 Friday, April 3, at BHS.

The Bulldogs also lost to Murfreesboro Oakland 5-2 Saturday morning at Phil Garner Field. BHS beat Baylor and Pigeon Forge in its Sportsbelle pool.

BHS 8 McCALLIE 5

BHS rallied from 5-3 down in the top of the seventh versus McCallie.

Copeland’s triple into the left-center field gap cut the lead to 5-4. A pass ball scored Copeland to tie the game. In the eighth, the Bulldogs benefited from two shortstop errors, a wild pitch plus a Drew Pasilas double, an RBI single from Edwards and a Ford single.

Daniel Hullett, BHS reliever, faced the minimum to earn a save.

Bearden starter Dakota Stallings, a sophomore, allowed the Blue Tornado just five hits in seven innings of work.

 

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