Silverdale Baptist Academy, which played in the Class A state championship last spring at Middle Tennessee State University, has taken on good competition before.
However, Bearden of Knoxville took that up a notch or two on Friday.
The Bulldogs blasted the Seahawks, 11-0, in the Ooltewah Invitational in a five-inning blowout at A.C. Bud Ball Field.
Silverdale shouldn’t be too hard on itself, though.
On Thursday night at Bradley Central High School, Bearden thumped Cleveland, 10-0, while losing to Bradley Central, 5-0.
“That’s a good team,” Seahawks coach Jonathan Adcock said of the Bulldogs. “Red Bank was a good team (Thursday) night and we lost 5-4, but battled hard. We know we’re playing teams that are up a level or two from us, but that’s going to make us better.”
Bearden was real good.
Lane Thomas, who has been committed to the University of Tennessee since his sophomore year, went 2-for-3, including a double and solo home run. He drove in two runs and scored three.
“I wanted to see some good pitching, be aggressive and get a few hits,” said Thomas, a smooth-fielding shortstop with a howitzer for an arm.
Thomas’ third homer of the season soared over the outfield fence in left-center with plenty to spare in the third inning, giving the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead. He ripped a laser-shot double into the left-field corner in the first to score Andy Beam, who drew a one-out walk from Seahawks starter River Crowther, a freshman right-hander.
Thomas stole second and later scored on David Beam’s single.
“Lane is pretty good,” Bulldogs coach John Rice said. “It’s tough on him. He experiences a lot of days when guys won’t throw him a lot to hit. Today he watches a guy, identifies a pitch and drives an off-speed pitch out.
“He’s a great hitter that only helps our lineup. I know the guy hitting behind him gets a lot more opportunities because Lane is hitting in front of him.”
Silverdale, which went 29-4-1 and lost to Friendship Christian, 4-0, in last spring’s title game, was still in the game, although Bulldogs starter Brady Duncan, a right-handed sophomore, had kept them off the scoreboard through three innings despite yielding back-to-back one-out walks in the first and successive two-out singles to Colton Rogers and Noah Rogers in the second.
“Our pitchers were getting pitches up and their hitters were killing the ball,” Adcock said. “With their pitcher, everything he threw was consistently low. That’s a lesson for our pitchers. You must keep the pitch down and you’ll get ground ball after ground ball like (Duncan) did.
“When you get the ball up, you’ll get hurt.”
Crowther got into big-time trouble in the Bulldogs’ explosive fourth inning.
Josh Smith, Kyle Porritt and Conner Cameron each singled to start the uprising.
Leadoff batter Bryson Ford’s infield grounder forced out Cameron at second, but Smith scored on the play.
Andy Beam’s hit to left pushed Porritt and Ford across home plate. Thomas was intentionally walked.
Elijah Helton’s laced a grounder deep in the hole between third and shortstop and Seahawks shortstop Josiah Green fielded the ball. The throw hit Andy Beam in the helmet and he came home with the fourth run of the inning.
Thomas later scored on David Beam’s ground ball off reliever Alex Porter that Silverdale turned into a force out at second base. Duncan and Smith drew walks and Porritt, batting for the second time in the fourth, cleared the bases with a long double to center field to cap the scoring.
“If you want a guy you can call tough on our team, Kyle’s the guy,” Rice said. “He’s a tough kid and I’d take a hundred of him.”
Porritt went 2-for-3, scored a run and drove in three.
The Bulldogs (6-4), who beat host Ooltewah, 7-2, immediately after dropping the Seahawks (5-2), are 80-44 over the last three-plus seasons. They went 29-12 in 2012, losing to Arlington in the Class AAA state title game.
“Games like this will prepare us for district play,” Adcock said. “Every team in our district is really improved. There is a lot of parity in our district. Hopefully, playing teams like Bearden will give us an edge.”
Bearden 201 80 – 11 8 0
Silverdale 000 00 – 0 4 1
Duncan and Porritt; Crowther, Porter (4) and Brown.
Saturday’s Ooltewah Invitational Schedule
At Ooltewah High
Silverdale vs. Cleveland, 11 a.m.
Silverdale vs. Ooltewah, 1:30 p.m.
Franklin County vs. Ooltewah, 4 p.m.
Championship game (two winningest teams), 7:30 p.m.
At Red Bank High
Red Bank vs. Jackson North Side, 11 a.m.
Red Bank vs. Harriman, 4 p.m.
At Bradley Central High
Franklin County vs. Bradley Central, 11 a.m.
Sycamore vs. Bradley Central, 1:30 p.m.
Sycamore vs. Cleveland, 4 p.m.
At Soddy-Daisy High
Harriman vs. Soddy-Daisy, 11 a.m.
Upperman vs. Soddy-Daisy, 1:30 p.m.
Jackson North Side vs. Upperman, 4 p.m.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org)