Friday, March 20, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Badger baseball team annihilates McClellan

Leader sportswriter

The Beebe Badgers’ baseball team absolutely dominated McClellan on Tuesday in the first pair of 5A-Central Conference games of the season, as the host Badgers won both games by scores of 28-0 and 24-0.

Beebe junior Angus Denton threw a perfect game in game one, throwing all three innings of the game. He recorded eight strikeouts in that game, which was ended in three innings because of the mercy rule, which is invoked when one team’s lead reaches at least 15 runs after three innings of play.

The Badgers (2-1, 2-0) wasted little time setting the tone of the game, as they scored 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning, 11 in the second and five more in the third to set the final score.

In that game, Beebe racked up 17 hits and 20 of the Badgers’ 28 runs scored were earned. Jeffrey Ashley led all hitters in game one, going 3 for 3 at the plate, and he also had four RBIs and two runs scored.

Hunter Naramore also had four RBIs in that game, and was one of four Beebe batters with two hits. Aaron Decker, Denton and Dawson Burge also had two hits. Denton, Decker and Naramore also led the way with a game-high four runs scored.

“We’re 2-0 going into spring break,” said Beebe coach Mark Crafton of his team’s conference record.

“The negative side of that is we got Jacksonville at their place when we come back from spring break, and they’re going to be a totally different competition level,” he added.

“Some of the things we were able to get away with tonight, we’re not going to be able to get away with against those upper-tier teams. Of course we got some junior varsity guys off the bench that may not ever see the light of day in a varsity game. It gave them an opportunity to get in a varsity game, get an at-bat, play some defense and help score some runs.”

Despite facing less than stellar competition, Crafton was pleased overall with his team’s performance at the plate Tuesday.

“Some guys put the bat on the ball,” Crafton said. “It’s tough when you go against a team that has a little velocity on the mound to one that doesn’t have a lot of velocity and is kind of sporadic in location.

“When we did get that pitch when it was somewhere in the zone, we hit it pretty hard, and that’s tough to make that change in high school when they’re seeing 82-plus (miles per hour) and they go lower 70s. It’s like seeing a change-up every time.

“We did a good job of adjusting and driving the baseball. So we got some things accomplished, but you like for your ballclub to be able to see some better competition.”

Crafton played the bulk of his reserves in the second game, but Beebe still held a 3-0 lead in the early goings. As the game progressed, though, McClellan’s inability to find the strike zone, as well as its miscues in the field, led to a plethora of Badger runs and another shortened game and blowout victory for the host team.

Beebe is on spring break next week, and the Badgers’ next game won’t be until Tuesday, March 31 at Jacksonville. That game will be another 5A-Central doubleheader, and the first of those two conference games is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.