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Pair of Diamond Dawgs lead Saturday Calia rally, 2 wins

Adam Thomas, Bearden right fielder, makes a sliding catch versus Karns.- Dan Barile/farragutpress
In the post-game huddle among happy Diamond Dawgs, Bearden Baseball head coach Jack Tate told his team, “you never gave up,” allowing an “awesome” and dramatic 9-8 come-from-behind victory at Karns Saturday afternoon.

Tate's Bulldogs rallied from an 8-2 deficit after four innings and 8-4 following five frames behind the pitching of reliever junior Ty Hill, plus a huge hit from, and equally huge final out pitched by, junior reliever/third baseman Derek Lance.

With BHS winning its first of three Kevin Calia Classic games spanning two days, Tate also reminded his team how Hill had an equally “great” performance exactly two years to the day, April 23, 2009, as a Bearden junior varsity pitcher on the very same field at KHS.

“It was a big game then, it's a big game now,” said Hill, who worked five innings allowing two earned runs, seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

Lance's bases-clearing three-RBI double into the left-centerfield gap capped the Diamond Dawgs' five-run sixth inning, turning an 8-6 deficit into a 9-8 lead.

“That was a fastball,” said Lance, who also relieved Hill to get the critical final out with Beavers on third and first with two out in the seven, inducing a pop-up to second baseman Trey York to end the game.

“We'd been running out of pitching, we'd had six games this week and they asked me if I could pitch, and I said, 'yes,'” added Lance, who ended with two hits and a huge save.

“Before the game, they were planning to bring me in if we got in trouble. They had me warming up the inning prior.”

Against Karns leadoff hitter Zach Cooper, “I tried to pound the ball outside,” Lance said. “Trying to locate on the outside corner and get him to chase a couple, and he did, and we got the pop-up and the win.”

Bearden was shaking off two home losses in Calia action Friday - 10-7 versus David Crockett and 13-1 to Morristown West.

The Bulldogs' record improved to 18-11 overall about two hours later at KHS, blanking Daniel Boone 10-0 in five innings behind the one-hit pitching of senior starter Craig Norwood. (More details on this Calia game later in story)

Despite Bearden's comeback effort versus the Beavers, Karns head coach John Rice said BHS credit for the victory was “probably none,” adding eight of nine Bearden runners who scored got on base with walks or were hit batters.

“I love their kids, and Jack does a great job, a really talented program, but if you told them they were going to have five hits and score nine runs, they'd tell you that's crazy.”

Karns, using a five-run, four-hit uprising in the second inning to go up 6-1, fell to 10-14 overall.

Ronnie Broyles scored Bearden's first run following a one-out walk. He scored on Drew Pasillas' RBI single, as the left-handed hitting catcher poked an outside pitch to left field.

Dakota Stalling, BHS senior shortstop, had a pair of RBI singles. His first chased home Zach Sale, who was hit by a pitch to begin the Bearden third inning.

In the Bearden fifth, Stallings' RBI double down the left field line scored Adam Thomas, who began the inning with a walk. Trey York's RBI infield single cut it to 8-4.

In the huge sixth inning, Hill led off with a walk. Pasillas single to left centerfield. A fly-out followed before Thomas walked to load the bases and bring up the top of Bearden's order.

Hamilton's fly ball to left center field was dropped, as all Bulldogs moved up 90 feet and courtesy runner Rob Thress scored, cutting the Beavers' lead to 8-5.

A wild pitch scored courtesy runner Neil Gore, then Stallings walked to reload the bases setting the table for Lance.

Against Daniel Boone, Norwood recorded five strikeouts and walked two in his five innings

Norwood's brother, senior catcher Cody Norwood, was 3-of-3 at the plate, while Hill had two hits and three RBI. Pinch hitter Marshall Wilkins smacked a two-run homer in the fourth inning.


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