Mahan, Suggs lead Bulldogs’ blanking of Ads

KNOXVILLE — It might or might not be a changing of the guard in District 4-4A baseball, but Bearden High School’s 2-0 win over Farragut Monday night, April 3, at BHS’s Phil Garner Park suggests it will be quite a district fight.

Junior centerfielder Riley Mahan gave the Bulldogs the only run they’d need when he broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with a solo home run. Mahan’s shot came on a 1-0 pitch and cleared the wall in left-center.

“It was a fastball inside, I was sitting on it,” Mahan said.

“I was late on the first swing; I thought he’d come back with it and he did, and I was ready for it. Felt really good.”

It was Mahan’s first win over the Dawgs’ archrival.

“Haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here,” Mahan said. “The pitching staff’s doing great, the hitting is coming along. Defense was great.”

Senior starting pitcher Braden Suggs threw five shutout innings while giving up only three hits and striking out six. Rhys Thomas threw the final two innings, giving up one hit.

“Braden threw a really good game,” Mahan said.

BHS head coach Dave Prichard said his staff has been a strength the whole season so far.

“We’ve pitched that way all year, we’ve leaned on those guys,” the Dawgs’ second-year skipper said. “We’re hopefully gonna get better offensively. We’re gonna have to swing a little bit better to get where we wanna go.”

Bearden’s other run also came in the fourth. After Mahan’s homer, second baseman Brady Frederick walked, then stole second and third.

When Admirals catcher Gavin Brewer threw to second to try to throw out Hudson Hoffecker, who had walked, the ball went into center field, scoring Frederick.

Farragut had its chances to score. Brewer led off the fifth with a walk. One out later, he went to third when left fielder Mark Underwood singled. The throw to third enabled Underwood to get to second.

Shortstop Lukas Buckner then walked, loading the bases with one out.

But Suggs then struck out centerfielder Brennon Seigler, then got first baseman Eli Evans to fly out to right.

In the sixth, a baserunning error by the Ads — a batter turning like he was starting to second base after beating out a grounder running past first — resulted in a double play.

“They (BHS) did a great job,” FHS head coach Matt Buckner said. “When you start acting like a baserunner (starting to second) you become a baserunner. It’s the right call.”

“Heads up play,” Prichard said about the double play. “We talk about those things: ‘attack the game from a lot of angles and be aggressive.’”

Bearden improved to 12-4 overall, 3-0 in district. Farragut fell to 11-4, 1-2.

“We think we belong,” Prichard said. “It’s a good win for us, but there’s a lot of good teams in this district. It’s gonna come down to May.

“We’re just gonna try to be hot at the right time,” he added. “It’s gonna be a battle.”