Friday, April 06, 2012

SPORTS >> Badgers play well, win doubleheader

Leader sports editor

The Beebe Badgers got an important doubleheader sweep of the Wynne Yellowjackets Tuesday at Beebe High School. The Badgers beat Wynne 6-3 and 3-2 to improve to 7-5 overall this season and stay in the race for the conference championship.

Beebe’s Brandon Stane pitched in game one and turned in a fine performance. He gave up one hit over the first five inning. The only trouble he saw came in the sixth inning when he temporarily struggled with control while the defense momentarily grew sloppy.

The Badgers got the lead early with two base hits in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Than Kersey got things rolling right away with a shot to left field. Two batters and two outs later, Jared Aschbrenner singled to score Kersey and give Beebe the lead.

In the next half inning, Wynne got its only hit in the first five innings and it was a good one. Five-hole hitter Jonathan Lindsey sent a shot over the fence in left field to tie the game. It didn’t stay tied for long.

The Badgers rallied with two outs in the bottom of the same frame. Eight-hole hitter Matt Stillman doubled to left field and Tyler Burge walked. Kersey got his second base hit of the game, an RBI double that scored Stillman and gave the Badgers a 2-1 lead.

Beebe added to its lead in the third inning. Stane aided his own cause by leading off the inning with a triple over the head of Wynne centerfielder Walker Mitchell. Aschbrenner got his second RBI on the next at bat with an infield single between shortstop and third base.

Aschbrenner got the third of his four base hits in the game when he led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double to left field. He scored two batters later on a single down the third baseline by left-hander Cody Reaves.

Wynne rallied in the top of the sixth with some help from the Badgers.

Stane, who hadn’t issued a walk up to that point, put two on base, including the leadoff hitter Taylor Jumper. Mitchell then got an infield single between short and third.

Aschbrenner made the stop, but his throw to first wasn’t on time and was well out of the reach of Reaves at first base. It was the first of three errors on the play that led to a Wynne run.

When Aschbrenner’s throw went wide, Jumper made for third. Reaves’ throw to third was off the mark and Jumper headed home. The throw home beat Jumper, but Badger catcher Dakota Lovston failed to make the catch, allowing Jumper to score and leaving Mitchell safe at third base.

Letting the eight and nine hitters on base with no outs to start an inning is usually a recipe for disaster, but Stane and the Badgers pulled it together. Wynne leadoff hitter Johnny Ratliff grounded out to second base and Darren Martin popped up to Lovston at the plate.

Wynne relief pitcher Nick Wright then singled to left field to score Mitchell, and reached second base on an errant pickoff throw by Lovston. Colby Rogers then walked, but Stane got Lindsey to ground out to shortstop to get out of the jam with the Badgers still leading 4-3.

They added two more in the bottom of the sixth to set the final margin.

Kersey walked and Lovston got a bunt single to put runners on first and second with no outs. Stane advance Kersey with a fly ball to centerfield to leave runners on the corners. Kersey scored on an error at first base on a pickoff throw. Lovston scored on Aschbrenner’s fourth base hit, another double to centerfield.

Aschbrenner finished 4 for 4 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored.

Stane went the distance on the mound for Beebe. He gave up just four hits and walked two while striking out seven Wynne batters.