Bearden High School manufactured enough offense to notch a 3-0 victory over Oak Ridge at Farragut High School’s annual Throwback Day at John Heatherly Field at the Ballpark in Farragut on Thursday, April 28.
The Bulldogs (24-9) and the Wildcats (15-15) play in the event, which benefits the KiMe Foundation to find a cure for young onset Parkinson’s and helps former FHS baseball player Pat Dorwin, who was diagnosed with the disease.
On this day, the host Admirals, Gibbs, Bearden, Oak Ridge, Gatlinburg-Pittman and Christian Academy of Knoxville (which is now coached by former Farragut coach Tommy Pharr) wear old uniforms and use wooden bats.
Concession prices are rolled back and Farragut High School public address announcer Ralph Skinner creates and old-time atmosphere with music from the early to mid 1900’s.
Bearden coach John Rice relishes the opportunity to play a quality opponent but he also appreciates the atmosphere of the day.
“It’s always special to play in this game and I’ve coached in it every year since I was at Karns,” Rice said. “I love playing with wooden bats and I love the atmosphere here.
“Ralph does a great job providing the atmosphere for this game. It’s a different game when you play with wooden bats and I love it.”
The atmosphere aside, the Bulldogs had to play a game. It was a game that Bearden won.
Both the Bulldogs and Wildcats went down in order in the first inning as starting pitchers Ian Campbell of Oak Ridge and Bearden’s Paul Underwood sparkled.
The Bulldogs scored the game’s first run in the top of the second inning. Underwood reached with a one-out single and was replaced by courtesy runner Spencer Glover. Glover advanced to third when Nate Adkins singled. Glover scored when Keith Gabrielson grounded out.
Oak Ridge got its first hit of the game in the fourth when John Foster singled with two out.
Gabrielson took the mound in the bottom of the fourth. He went two innings and gave up just one hit and had three strikeouts.
The Bearden junior said he enjoyed pitching in the game.
“I love playing in this game and every time I go out there, by goal is to break a wooden bat,” Gabrielson said. “I didn’t break one today but I think I might’ve come pretty close.”
“It’s always fun to come and play in this game,” he said. “I always love and look forward to coming here to play this game.
“It was a great time and everybody played pretty well.”
Bearden extended its lead to 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning when Brady Duncan singled home Thomas Wilson, who led off the frame with a hit.
Wilson set up the final run of the contest when he doubled to lead off the top of the seventh. He was lifted for pinch runner Matt Stubblefield, who entered and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Stubblefield scored on Prater Knight’s RBI groundout to make the score 3-0.
Shawn DeAngelo pitched the seventh for the Bulldogs and surrendered a one-out double to Oak Ridge’s Spencer Wilson before striking out the final two Wildcats he faced.
ORHS coach Mark Garrison was pleased with his team’s effort against Bearden and commended his squad’s turnaround from last season.
“We won four games last year but we’ve made great strides this season and we played really well today against one of the top teams in the state,” Garrison said. “We come in here and play this game every year.
“It’s always fun to play in this game.”
The Throwback Day raised $1, 100, according to Skinner.
In other games, CAK downed Gatlinburg-Pittman 2-0 and the host Admirals outlasted Gibbs 6-5.