Depth, talent up-and-down the lineup contribute to Bearden baseball’s hot start


Tammy Kregel

Sophomore Brooks Wright rounds first after a base hit.

The Bearden baseball season is underway, and thanks to some hot hitting, the Bulldogs have gotten out to an 11-4 start under first year coach Dave Prichard. 

This year’s squad has shown through the early part of the year they have depth not only one through nine in the lineup, but they have substitutes who can come in and contribute as well. 

“We are blessed with a lot of depth on this year’s team,” Prichard said. “That is a blessing and a challenge at the same time as making a lineup out any given day is a difficult task that requires difficult decisions to be made.  

“We have several players that can play at a high level, and we simply cannot get them all in every day. We ask that they trust us as a coaching staff and the plan that we put together. For a teenager, that can be hard, but our guys have done a great job of that so far as well as celebrating the successes of their teammates.”

Bearden won both games of its double header on Saturday, including an 8-6 win over Cumberland County, where Coach Prichard spent the previous 15 years coaching before taking the Bearden job in August.

The Bulldogs play at Heritage on Monday night at 6 before visiting rival Farragut on Wednesday.

Bearden has found explosive offensive performances from a variety of hitters throughout the early part of the season. In a 10-3 win over Karns, junior Brady Frederick went 3-for-5 with two home runs, a double, and four RBI. Against Daniel Boone, senior Griffen Oros led the way, going 3-3 at the plate with a homerun, a double, and three RBI. 

In one of their most impressive team offensive showings this year against Lebanon, the entire lineup was on fire. Junior Griffin Mackey and sophomore Riley Mahan both homered, sophomore and University of Tennessee commit Brooks Wright went 2-for-2 with a double, and junior Owen Matthews had two home runs and six RBI.

Having batters 1-9 who can compete and hit really can make us a tough team to deal with,” Frederick said. “Not only that, but it keeps our energy up throughout every at bat, which is always beneficial.” 

Over their past 13 games, the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by a combined total of  108-48. As the team heads into district play, it is important they are able to keep up their strong offensive start.

“We have hit the ball very well, but we will also see a higher quality of pitching in district play, so that is the next challenge,” Coach Prichard said. “While it will be difficult, I believe our guys are up to the challenge.”

Along with a good offensive start, another strength on this year’s team is chemistry.

“A large majority of us have played either with or against each other since we started playing baseball, so we have a tight bond for a high school team,” Wright said.

Coach Prichard said he hopes he can continue to contribute to that culture.

“I hope to establish a solid foundation for our program,” Coach Prichard said. “That simply means laying out standards and expectations for our guys and establishing relationships. 

“I really believe that will take all of a full year, if not longer, to really understand how things run and aligning them with your core principles.”