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Softball frosh step up despite 1-5 BHS week

Optimism remains the battle cry for a young Bearden High School softball team despite a 1-5 record last week.

Though its new pitching staff ace is only a freshman, Courtney Braden is getting rave reviews from BHS assistant coach Leonard Sams.

“I’m extremely happy, she’s only giving up an average of three hits a game for the season,” Sams said. “Really doing good.

“The kids are playing very well behind her,” he added. “Our hitting’s improving tremendously. We’re finally starting to put up runs against teams.

“I think you’re going to see this team really start turning it around now. They’re finally starting to figure it out and put it together. I knew it would take at least a half year with this young group.”

Bearden opened play in the 40-team Kingsport Invitational Friday evening, April 3 — which included teams from North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia — and lost a tough 6-5 decision versus host Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett.

Saturday Invitational play turned into a split, with BHS losing the earlier game against Watauga (N.C.) 4-2 before bouncing back for a 6-5 victory against Cumberland County.

Bearden offensive highlights against CCHS included a home run from third baseman Hannah Champlin. “She’s starting to hit the ball well,” Sams said.

Top defensive plays in that game included freshman second baseman Amanda Dunaway turning a double play.

“We’re starting to get more production out of Jennifer Griffith,” Sams said about his junior infielder.

“Haley Miles is really starting to hit the ball well now. She went almost .500 for the weekend before hurting her leg.

“Freshman Emma Kugler, she really hit well, I think her on-base [percentage] was like .773,” Sams added about his centerfielder. “Kiarra Freeman, another freshman, really did well this weekend.”

Still winless in District 4-AAA action, Bearden lost three road district games last week: 4-1 at South-Doyle March 30, 3-1 at Lenoir City March 31 and 6-1 at William Blount April 2.


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