Wednesday, April 02, 2008

SPORTS >>Lady Badgers start strong, falter in Conway

Leader sports editor

CONWAY — The Beebe Lady Badgers took on the upper classifications at the Conway tournament over the weekend, winning their first game on Friday, then dropping their final three.

The Lady Badgers, 5A state runners-up in two of the past three seasons, opened the tourney at Conway High on Friday with a dramatic 3-2 win over Class 6A Benton.

Beebe’s Chelsea Sanders had given the Lady Badgers a 3-1 lead with a two-run single in the fifth.

Benton placed runners at second and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh. A sacrifice bunt drew the Lady Panthers to within 3-2, but the game ended when catcher Chelsea Sanders threw out a Benton runner trying to go to third base on the play. Later in the evening, 7A Fayetteville beat Beebe 5-0.

On Saturday, the Lady Badgers fell behind 8-0 and 12-2 to Conway before staging a furious rally, which came up short in a 12-9 loss. Ally Wallace belted a three-run homer and Ashley Barrick added a three-run double in the seven-run seventh.

That set up a consolation rematch with Benton. Beebe opened up an early lead with three in the first inning, but the game went into a tiebreaker at 4-4 in the seventh.

Benton scored twice to take a 6-4 lead. The Lady Badgers loaded the bases with singles by Barrick and Laura Tucker. Bailey Thomas’ single made it 6-5, still with the bases loaded and one out. But Sanders flied out and Watkins sent a deep fly ball to the fence that was hauled in for the final out.

Beebe fell to 5-3 and returned to conference action at Wynne in a game played on Tuesday after Leader deadlines.

“We still feel pretty good about where we are,” said Beebe head coach Terry Flenor. “We always try to use a tough tournament this time of year to get ready for conference play. We found a few things we need to correct. But with no more games than we’ve been able to play so far, we’re OK