Saturday, April 20, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Badgers step into first in conference

Leader sportswriter

Attaining the 5A East Conference championship became closer within reach for the Beebe Lady Badgers after a two-game sweep of Nettleton on the road Wednesday. Beebe downed the Lady Raiders 5-1 in the first game, but had trouble putting its foes away during the nightcap in a 9-8 thriller that went eight innings.

The Lady Raiders came into the twin bill leading the league with a perfect 8-0 record with Beebe a game back at 7-1. Winning the opener set up a short-lived tie between the two teams before the Lady Badgers took first place outright with the victory in game 2.

“They have the best-hitting group of anyone in our conference,” Lady Badgers coach Eric Chambers said. “We had seven errors in the second game, which is not really typical for us, but it was kind of sloppy for both teams on the defensive side.”

Nettleton took a 7-6 lead into the final inning before the Lady Badgers were able to tie the game. The Lady Raiders scored a run in the top of the eighth inning to make it 8-7 before Beebe retired the side.

Beebe sophomore pitcher Ellie Reaves reached on a bunt in the bottom of the eighth, and senior Annlee Glass loaded the bases with another bunt. That put freshman Baylee Halford at the plate, and Halford sent in the tying run with a hit to second base. Nettleton tried for the force out at the plate but was unsuccessful.

Nettleton then retired one batter before sophomore Calah Hill hit it to shortstop, and the Lady Raiders once again failed to make a play on the ball.

Beebe (19-3, 9-1) has Bates-ville and Blytheville left on its league schedule while the Lady Raiders still have to face Paragould and perennial powerhouse Wynne.

“We’ve already played the top three or four teams in the conference,” Chambers said. “If we can take care of Batesville and Blytheville, we can win conference. We have one starting freshman and one junior, and the rest are sophomores. Most of the girls started last year, so we’re young, but we’re also kind of old.”

The Badgers baseball team split with Nettleton on Wednesday, winning 3-2 in the first game before falling 10-0 in a lopsided shutout.

Jared Aschbrenner took the win on the mound in game one for Beebe, as the Badgers scored a run in the top of the first inning, and added another in the second to answer both of the Raiders’ runs in the bottom of the first. The game remained tied until the top of the fifth when Beebe drove in the winning score.

Ace pitcher Ethan Moore took the victory on the mound for the Raiders in the second game with a one-hitter performance, and also led his team at the plate with a game-high three hits. Nettleton had 13 total hits.

The Raiders went up 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, and took total control one frame later with seven more runs for a commanding 9-0 lead. Nettleton added one final run in the bottom of the eighth inning.