Hawks survive opening-season slugfest, edge rival Bulldogs

HARDIN VALLEY — Hardin Valley Academy baseball head coach Tyler Roach won’t soon forget his head coaching debut.

For starters, he saw his Hawks notch a comeback victory in a key District 4-AAA game against Bearden at home Monday evening, March 11. And if a 13-9 league win wasn’t enough, he beat his mentor, BHS head coach John Rice.

“I can’t believe the fight that we had,” said Roach, who played for Rice at Karns and later coached under him at Bearden. “We didn’t play fundamentally sound, in fact, we were pretty bad. But we did enough to come back and then hang on to get a big win.

“I told these guys that this was going to be a dogfight, and we wanted to stay on an even keel and we were able to do that. We threw punch after punch after punch and then we landed that haymaker. We showed toughness, and toughness is the signature of this program.

The Hawks (1-0 overall, 1-0 in District 4-AAA) took an early 1-0 lead with two outs in the bottom of the first. Cam Fisher doubled and scored on a single by Conner Hubler.

But the Bulldogs would answer with five runs in the second. In that frame, Jacob Balsley and Caden Rector had RBI doubles. Balsley scored on a wild pitch. Patrick Boles drove in a run with a single and Bryson Trammell picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly. When the dust had settled, the Bulldogs (0-1, 0-1) had a 5-1 lead.

Fisher homered in the bottom of the third to make it 5-2.

Bearden starter, senior left-hander Cole Poynter, hurled three innings. He struck out five while surrendered two runs, three hits and two walks while hitting a a batter.

Tyler Meyers entered in the fourth and retired two of the first three hitters he faced via the strikeout. Bryce Jenkins reached on a two-base error with one out.

After Myers fanned Lukas Cook, things came unraveled for the Bulldogs.

BHS’s defense committed three errors in the frame. Jenkins advanced to third and later scored as Myers uncorked two wild pitches. Hubler doubled home Fisher, who walked with two outs.

Jaylen Jones had an RBI single in the frame. The Hawks also picked up two more runs when Jared Lugo reached on an error to make the score 7-5.

HVA extended its advantage to 10-5 when Hubler had a three-run double in the fifth.

The Hawks made it 13-5 in the sixth thanks to an RBI single by Jenkins, who later came home on a wild pitch. Cook also had a sacrifice fly in the frame.

“Our defense just fell apart and we had some trouble throwing strikes,” Rice said.

“They had some trouble throwing strikes and when they threw strikes, we mashed,” Fisher said.

Bearden scored four in the seventh as Ben Waybright and Brandon Lejeune drew bases-loaded walks.

Boles scored on a wild pitch and Rector had an RBI single.