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Late mistakes costly in BHS loss to Science Hill

Bearden High School Baseball head coach Jack Tate knew his team let a win slip away Saturday at BHS’s Phil Garner Field.

“We had four or five opportunities but we couldn’t get the big hit, and in close games that comes back to haunt you, and it did today,” Tate said after watching his team drop a 5-4 decision to Johnson City Science Hill in the final day of the Kesslers Team Sports Classic April 16.

To say the Bulldogs (13-9) had their chances would possibly be an understatement.

Bearden stranded three runners in the bottom of first. The Bulldogs left a runner on third in the second before plating two runs in the bottom of the third.

Still, Bearden hung around and chipped away long enough to take a 4-3 lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit.

Left fielder Lane Thomas reached on an error to start the late rally. He then moved to second when Ty Hill laid down a sacrifice bunt. Hill reached on a two-base throwing error by Science Hill relief pitcher Matt Pope.

The miscue gave the Bulldogs runners at second and third with nobody out.

Thomas scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Hamilton. Hill advanced to third and scored on a deep fly ball by Dakota Stallings.

“We were able to go ahead because we played some good fundamental baseball,” Tate said.

Tate’s bullpen and defense let him down in the seventh.

Junior starting pitcher Ronnie Broyles gave the Bulldogs six strong innings. He allowed two runs while striking out three. He moved to right field in the seventh, where he made a spectacular catch to retire Zach Thompson for the first out of the frame.

Then things really got crazy. Hilltoppers’ third baseman Heath Loyd singled off Dawgs reliever Kyle Wentz. Daniel Norris followed with another hit to put runners on first and second.

Tate then made another call to the bullpen and brought in Marshall Wilkins.

“I changed pitchers again because they hit all three of those balls hard,” he said.

Wilkins threw a wild pitch to allow both runners to advance to second and third respectively.

He threw another wild pitch that allowed Loyd to score, and after a close play at the plate Wilkins made a return throw to attempt to nab Norris, who came home on a throwing error as the ball went sailing into left.

“This one hurts, but the big thing about this is that we have to learn from it,” Broyles said.

The Bulldogs answered a 2-0 deficit with a pair in the bottom of the third, as catcher Drew Pasillas had an RBI single and Broyles added a scoring double.

Science Hill regained the lead in the sixth on an RBI single following a one-out double.


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