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franklin county times

Gardner, Bulldogs beat Bears

By Staff
Mike Self FCT Sports Editor
BELGREEN – Justin Gardner pitched a complete game two-hitter and also drove in the go-ahead run on Monday as the Belgreen Bulldogs earned their first win of the season, beating Phillips 4-1.
"It feels great to finally get a win," said Gardner, a sophomore righthander who struck out six, walked two and did not allow a hit after the third inning.
Colby Barnett had two hits and two runs scored for the Bulldogs, who had come close to winning a handful of games before finally breaking through on Monday.
"We would prefer to have won our first game at the beginning of the season," Belgreen coach Derek Ergle said with a smile. "But we'll take it. What we hope to do now is take this win at the end of the season and build on it for next year."
After Belgreen took a 1-0 lead on Marty Britton's RBI grounder in the bottom of the first, Phillips tied the game in the top of the third on a double and a run-scoring infield hit.
Gardner settled into a groove thereafter, retiring 12 of the final 14 batters he faced.
"Justin has pitched well all season," Ergle said. "It just so happened that things fell our way today and we were finally able to get him a win. He has a lot of potential, and if he continues to work hard he will be even better next season."
With the game tied 1-1, Barnett led off the bottom of the third with a double that one-hopped the fence in center field.
Two outs later, Gardner stroked an RBI single to center to make it 2-1.
The Bulldogs manufactured a pair of insurance runs in the fourth. Jesse Edwards led off with a single, stole second, and then moved to third on a base hit by Jordan Williams.
Williams stole second, and Edwards came home on a wild pitch to make it 3-1.
Kyle Warren followed with an RBI groundout to score Williams for a 4-1 lead.
"We've had some guys who have really stepped up at the plate toward the end of the year," Ergle said. "Some of them are guys who had been struggling a little bit. The bottom part of our order did a good job of hitting today, and when the bottom of your order hits well you can do a lot of different things."
Phillips mounted its last rally in the top of the fifth, getting runners to second and third with two outs. With the tying run at the plate, Belgreen third baseman Shane Fretwell handled a hot shot on one hop and threw to first for the final out of the inning.
"When your defense it making plays like that behind you, it just makes you a better pitcher," Gardner said.
The Bulldogs played flawlessly in the field the rest of the way, handling five chances cleanly over the final two innings.
"That was some of the best defense we've played all season," Ergle said.
Gardner finished with two hits, including a double, and stole a base. Britton, Edwards, Williams and Barnett also each stole a base.
Belgreen was scheduled to play its final game of the season on Tuesday at Hazlewood.

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