Tuesday, June 19, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Early runs, late defense keys to win for Beebe

Leader sportswriter

The bats were strong for Beebe early, but it was solid defense down the stretch that made the biggest difference for the Post 91 team as they defeated the Cabot 2 junior American Legion team 7-2 at Cabot City Park on Monday.

Beebe scored four runs in the top of the first inning and added three more during their next turn in the top of the second. Those two frames were the total of Beebe’s scoring, but solid defense and a strong effort on the mound from winner Dillon Tippy carried Post 91 late when Centennial Bank threatened to come back.

“Our bats are starting to come around,” Beebe coach John Underwood said. “We’ve had some practice, and had some time out in some games. Everything is starting to come together for us a little bit. Defense is looking a whole lot better – we didn’t have too many errors. It made a big difference for us.”

Tippy was close to going the distance before running out of gas late in the bottom of the fifth inning. He struck out two batters to start the frame as the game was nearing its timelimit, but he gave up a single to Centennial Bank No. 3 hitter Dillon Buchanan and hit cleanup batter Lino Garcia with a pitch. That was followed by walks for Wesley Brown and Nathan Davis, with Davis’ walk scoring Buchanan to cut Beebe’s lead to 7-2.

Post 91 switched Tippy out on the mound with Brandon Gray, who needed just one pitch to force Christian Henson into an infield groundout to end the game.

Beebe built a big lead fast in the top of the first when Luke Dixon led off with a double to left field and scored when Jonathan Underwood singled to left.

Cleanup hitter Gray sent Underwood home on another single to left to give Post 91 a 2-0 lead before J.T. Rainbolt started the next round of base runners with a walk from starting Centennial pitcher Andrew Dolan.

Nate Rogers then hit into a fielder’s choice at third that retired Gray, but Aaron Nunez came up big for Beebe with two outs when he hit a two RBI single into deep left field that gave Beebe a 4-0 lead after one.

Dolan struggled to start the second inning with walks for Cole Sanders and Dixon, which led to a switch for Ethan Holland on the mound. Holland hit Underwood with a pitch to load the bases, and Tippy drove in Sanders with a single to left center to make it 5-0. Gray scored Dixon with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, and Rainbolt did the same to score Underwood.

That made the score 7-0, but the Cabot side contended that Underwood left the bag at third early and did not tag up properly. Centennial Bank coach Greg Frantel appealed the call, and the home plate umpire ruled Underwood out, though the run was allowed to stand since it was scored before the appeal.

Gray was 2 for 3 with two RBI for Beebe. For Cabot, Davis was 2 for 2 with a double and three RBI.