Saturday, April 19, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Beebe bangs out two wins against Rams

Leader sportswriter

Beebe’s baseball team got a 5A-East doubleheader sweep over Paragould on Wednesday at Gillam Field with a 3-2 win in eight innings in the opener, and a 5-2 win over the Rams in the nightcap.

Neither team scored in the first inning of game one, but Paragould, 2-4 in 5A East play, scored in the top of the second to take a 1-0 lead. That lead, however, wouldn’t last, as Beebe (8-7, 5-3) scored two runs in the bottom part of the inning to take a 2-1 lead.

Badger five-hole hitter Will Aughnbaugh started the bottom of the second with a single to left field. Two batters later, catcher Hunter Naramore singled to left field and then stole second base. With runners at second and third with two outs, center fielder Justin Browning drove both runners in with a stand-up double to left field, which gave the Badgers a 2-1 lead.

The score remained 2-1 till the top of the seventh, when the Rams took advantage of two costly Beebe errors at shortstop that tied the game at 2-2 as a result, sending it to extra innings.

The Badgers held Paragould scoreless in the top of the eighth, and Beebe shortstop and cleanup hitter John Finley made up for the costly mistakes in the field with the game-winning hit.

Two-hole hitter Dawson Burge started the bottom of the eighth with a leadoff single to center field, and a sacrifice bunt by John Underwood the next at-bat put Burge at second base with one out.

That brought Finley to the plate, and Finley won the game with a stand-up double that dropped in deep left-center field, allowing Burge to score with ease and set the final score of game one.

Even though they won both games, Beebe coach Mark Crafton wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s performance Wednesday, especially in game one. On top of the two errors at the end of that game, his team left runners stranded at pivotal times that helped Paragould stay in the game.

In the bottom of the fourth, Beebe had the bases loaded with just one out, but the next two batters struck out, allowing the Rams’ starting pitcher to get out of the jam.

“We are missing those timely hits,” said Crafton. “We had runners at third and couldn’t get them in. We had a popup and then the bases loaded and two strikeouts. We kind of put it in cruise control when we get ahead instead of keeping that gas pedal pushed down and staying on people.”

Beebe won the second game with five runs on four hits. The Badgers scored two runs in the second inning and three in the third. Paragould set its run total with a run in the third and one in the fifth.

Kord Simpson got the win on the mound in game two. He threw six innings and recorded six strikeouts and gave up six hits and four walks. Browning got the save in the seventh and struck out one and walked one in that time.

Angus Denton was the winning pitcher of game one. He threw all eight innings and finished with a game-high 13 strikeouts. He gave up six hits, one walk and one earned run.

Denton, Burge, Finley, Aughnbaugh, Simpson, Nara-more and Browning each had one hit in game one. Under-wood, Finley, Simpson and Naramore combined for Beebe’s four hits in game two.

The Badgers played a nonconference game against Mayflower yesterday at home after deadlines, and will resume conference play Monday with a doubleheader at Nettleton.

The first pitch of game one Monday is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.