HARDIN VALLEY — Bearden High School’s baseball team exacted a little revenge late last week in the first round of the District 4-AAA baseball tournament.
The sixth-seeded Bulldogs upset No. 3 seed Knoxville Catholic 4-1 Friday night, May 3, at Hardin Valley Academy thanks to a quick start and some clutch pitching from left-hander Cole Poynter and sophomore reliever Jaxson Serritt.
Though finishing its season 18-13-1 after being eliminated by No. 8 seed Heritage Monday evening, May 6, at FHS, the Bulldogs darted to an early lead against the Irish.
Scored a pair of runs in the first inning off Irish ace Chris Arbuthnot, BHS leadoff hitter Patrick Boles singled and advanced to third when Jacob Balsley doubled to put runners at the corners.
One out later, Harrison Mosley delivered a two-run double to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
Catholic’s Cooper Whitt had a solo home run in the bottom of the frame to make the score 2-1.
But that would be the only run of the contest for KCHS, which stood at 18-15 after this loss.
The Irish, who swept the Bulldogs in the regular-season series, would have their chances in the contest —but KCHS just couldn’t come up with a clutch two-out hit.
Catholic stranded six runners, rapped into a pair of double plays and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth thanks to some clutch pitching by Serritt.
“We had a lot of chances but we couldn’t get the hits with two outs,” Catholic head coach Caleb Moorehe said. “That’s baseball.
“You have to be able to get hits with two outs. That’s the name of the game in baseball.”
Serritt came into to pitch with two outs and the bases juiced and promptly and struck Whitt out to end the frame.
Picking up a crucial save, “I felt pretty good,” Serritt said. “At first, when I came in, I was a little nervous.
“But as things went on, I wasn’t," he added. "I like coming in in a situation like that and it feels good to get this win.”
Serritt might’ve been nervous, but BHS head coach John Rice wasn’t.
“Jaxson’s good and we’ve got a lot of good guys,” Rice said. “I liked his matchup and he made some good pitches.
“I talked to my wife about this and I talked to (Hardin Valley Academy head coach Tyler) Roach about this. And I did not envy what Caleb Moore had to face today," he added. "Everybody had to throw their ace today. We had to do it. Catholic had to do it. Everybody had to do it.
"You have to do it to put yourself in position to advance in the tournament and you have to be sure that they’re ready to come back later."
The Bulldogs picked up a pair of insurance runs in the fifth on an RBI groundout from designated hitter John Beam and another double by Mosley that plated Balsley to make it 4-1.
Boles, Balsley and Mosely all had a pair of hits against the Irish.