Friday, March 29, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers earn easy sweep of Mustangs

Leader sports editor

Senior pitchers Jared Aschbrenner and Brandon Stane led the way for Beebe in a pair of 5A East Conference shutout victories over visiting Forrest City on Tuesday as the Badgers routed the Mustangs 17-0 in the first game and got by with a 4-0 win in the nightcap of a league twin bill at Gillam Fields.

Aschbrenner and Stane, both signed to play college baseball next year, delivered one hitters against a Mustangs team that struggled tremendously at the plate throughout the evening. Beebe (7-4, 2-2) run ruled the Mustangs after four innings of the opener, but inconsistencies at the plate in the second game made the score appear closer than the actual game.

“We got 13 guys to the plate in the first inning,” Beebe coach Mark Crafton said. “One reason was because of poor defensive play on Forrest City’s part. We took advantage of some fastballs and balls in the dirt to take some extra bases, steals. You add some hits in here and there, it can get away from you in a hurry. The second game was a totally different story. We had too many guys left on base; I think we left 11 guys stranded. We had men in scoring position and just didn’t perform, didn’t execute plays.

“It wasn’t that we were overpowered pitching wise, we were just trying to push too much doing things we weren’t capable of doing. A win is still a win, we just didn’t do the things we needed to do.”

Aschbrenner struck out five batters while giving up one walk and one hit, and allowed another FC batter to first with a hit-by-pitch in the top of the third inning.

“He was effectively wild in that first game,” Crafton said of Aschbrenner. “It’s been a while since he’s had conference action, but he was a little wild, but he was effective, got his groundouts and strikeouts, pop ups. He got the job done. Of course Brandon Stane in the second game, he was overpowering for the Forrest City bats and was able to keep them at bay.”

Senior Than Kersey led off with a triple in the bottom of the first inning of the first game before Stane reached on an outfield error, and both runners scored on a single grounder to left field by Aschbrenner. Senior first baseman and future Lyon College player Cody Reaves also benefitted from an FC error to reach first and send Aschbrenner home for a 3-0 Beebe lead.

Reaves advanced two batters later when Pete Drennan walked and scored on another error off of Angus Denton’s infield grounder. A walk for Byers Halford loaded the bases, with Drennan and Denton scoring off another Mustangs error on an infield hopper by Tyler Burge from the bottom of the lineup.

That gave the Badgers a 6-0 lead, and another hit for Kersey, this one a single, sent courtesy runner Gus Wisdom in for Halford to make it 7-0 before Burge came in on a groundout by Stane.

Beebe added two more scores in the bottom of the second before batting around the lineup again in the third inning for seven more runs.

Justin Browning and Aschbrenner doubled while Denton singled with the rest of the Badgers’ scores coming courtesy of walks and errors by Forrest City.

Kersey was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI while Aschbrenner was 2 for 4 with a double and 4 RBIs.

“We just need to see improvement in consistency with the bats,” Crafton said of the first month of the season. “Especially with runners in scoring position, that’s the biggest key right now. Defense, we have our good days and bad days, but for the most part, we play solid defensively.”