Saturday, May 11, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Badgers pound Bobcats in first round

Leader sportswriter

HOPE – The weather during Thursday’s class 5A state softball tournament opener wasn’t ideal, but the Lady Badgers still found a way to dominate the host team as they beat the Ladycats 11-1 in six innings.

The wet conditions led to a rough start for Beebe standout pitcher Ellie Reaves as a bunt single and two walks led to a bases-loaded situation for Hope in the top of the first inning with just one out. Reaves, however, got out of the jam with a force out at home and a strikeout, and the momentum quickly shifted in Beebe’s favor.

“We put the ball in play and we left a few runs out there actually,” said Lady Badgers coach Eric Chambers. “When we started the ball game it started raining quite a bit and Ellie didn’t have much control of the ball. They got the bases loaded there and we got a big out with a force play at home. They score there and there’s no telling what would’ve happened.”

Leadoff hitter Madelyn Poe singled for Beebe in the bottom of the first and scored three-batters later on a ground ball to third base by cleanup hitter Mackenzie Bingham to give the Lady Badgers a 1-0 lead.

Hope (10-17) tied the game at one apiece in the top of the third, but Beebe (24-4) responded in the bottom part of the inning with four runs on a two-out rally to take a comfortable 5-1 lead. The Lady Badgers added another two-out run in the fifth with a solo home run to center field by Megan Davlin.

Reaves and the Lady Badger defense kept Hope off the scoreboard once again in the top of the sixth, and Beebe responded its next at bat with its most impressive inning at the plate. Calah Hill, Brittany Gentry and Bingham all started the inning with singles, and Courtney Shepard drove in Hill the next at bat with the team’s fourth-consecutive single.

Davlin followed with another hard-hit shot, this one off the fence in straightaway center field that was good for a double. Gentry and Bingham scored on the play to put Beebe up 9-1. Shepard scored the 10th run for the Lady Badgers and freshman Sydney Smith drove in Davlin with a single to right field, which set the final score.

Despite the wet conditions, Reaves allowed just one run on four hits. She gave up three walks, two of which came in the first inning, and she finished the game with eight strikeouts.

“She really didn’t get to spin the ball a whole lot today because of the weather,” Chambers said. “But, you know, we’re a young team and to come out here and beat somebody like that at their place 11-1, it’s a big win for us.”

As a team, the Lady Badgers had one of their better games offensively. Poe, Hill, Gentry, Bingham, Shepard, Davlin and Reaves all had multiple base hits in the game, while freshmen Baylee Halford and Smith each had a hit.

The Lady Badgers, the No. 1 seed from the East, played Vilonia, the No. 2 seed from the West in the second round of the class 5A state tournament on Friday after deadlines. Look for details for the rest of Beebe’s state tournament games in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.