Tuesday, May 26, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> O’Reilly’s teams play well early

Leader sportswriter

Though rainy conditions put an early end to the Junior American Legion Memorial Day tournament at Burns Park, the Beebe Post 91 O’Reilly Auto Parts team was able get multiple games in before the wet weather put an end to the tournament on Sunday.

Beebe split its team into two teams for the tournament, which began Friday, and the Beebe Red team was the more successful of the two, as it went 2-1 in the tournament with wins over Jacksonville and Maumelle. The Beebe White team went 0-2 at the tournament.

On Friday, the Beebe Red team beat Jacksonville’s Junior Legion team by the final score of 7-3. Beebe had six hits and four walks in that game. On the mound, Jacob Davis pitched all five innings to earn the win. He recorded seven strikeouts and only gave up three walks and two hits.

Tyler Fowler and Blaine Burge each had multiple hits to lead Beebe at the plate against Jacksonville. The Beebe Red team played again Saturday, but lost 6-4 to Cabot. The loss paired Beebe Red against Maumelle on Sunday morning, and Beebe scored all of its runs in the fourth inning to beat Maumelle 7-2.

Maumelle scored its two runs in the first inning, and led 2-0 until the fourth inning, when Beebe went on its seven-run scoring tear. In that fourth inning, Beebe gathered a good portion of its momentum on back-to-back-to-back doubles by Dylan Lowe, Fowler and Burge.

“We just started hitting the ball,” said Beebe Junior Legion coach Michael Lawrence. “We ended up getting three doubles right in a row. The boys just kept trading off and we ended up scoring all seven runs in that fourth inning.

“Maumelle threw a pretty nice left-handed pitcher. It took us a little time to get used to the lefty coming at us. He was throwing pretty well, but in that fourth inning we just got on a roll. The guys just stayed positive the whole game and felt like we were never out of it.”

Beebe Red had seven hits against Maumelle. Fowler led Beebe at the plate in that game, going 2 for 2 with a walk. He also got the win on the mound. He threw every inning, and recorded four strikeouts on six hits and one walk allowed.

The Beebe White team lost a close 7-5 game to the Jacksonville Two Junior Legion team in the first round of the tournament. Beebe White played Texarkana next, and lost that one 14-3.

Against Texarkana, Beebe White led 3-1 going into the fifth inning, but ran out of pitching and Texarkana scored 13 unanswered runs in that inning to set the final score.

Tyler Myers and Jacob Rogers led Beebe White at the plate against Texarkana. They each had two hits, and teammate Jacob Conklin reached base all three at-bats on a base hit and two walks.

Conklin led Beebe White at the plate against the Jacksonville Two team. He was 2 for 2 in that game, and has a perfect on-base percentage after two games played.

The Memorial Day tournament games were the first of the season for Beebe, who will play the remainder of the season as one team. The team was split into two solely for the tournament in order to ensure more players got plenty of playing time.

“Because we wanted to get people some playing time right off the bat, we split the two teams up,” Lawrence said. “It gave them an opportunity to get some playing time and it gave us an opportunity to see what we’ve got coming up.”

Even though the team struggled last year, Lawrence said he’s excited about this year’s group of players and the strides they’ve made in the last year, and said the team is excited as well.

“We weren’t very solid last year,” Lawrence said. “It was our first season of having legion baseball back here in Beebe. We definitely struggled the first year, but the boys are excited about this year. We’ve definitely improved.

“We’ve got some good players coming back from last year, and we’ve got some additions this year. We’re going to look really good this year, I believe.”