Friday, May 12, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers beat Cardinals

Leader sports editor

The Lady Badgers put some runs in the bank early, and needed about all of them to hold on for a 9-7 win over Camden Fairview in the Class 5A state softball tournament at the Sherwood Sports Complex.

Beebe, the No. 1 seed from the 5A-Central, 9-0 after four innings, but defense got a little shaky late and the Lady Cardinals got some timely base hits to make a game of it in the last three innings.

“They put down some good bunts, we made a few errors,” said Beebe coach Eric Chambers. “We were patient at the plate for about the first half of the game and got away from that. We just weren’t very focused after we got ahead. But we’ll take it. A win is a win in the state tournament.”

Neither team was very sharp defensively throughout. Beebe’s defense came through with some plays to get out of early jams, while Camden-Fair-view’s did not.

The Lady Cardinals (11-13) got two runners in scoring position with one out in the top of the first inning and cleanup hitter Sarah Key at the plate. Key hit a hard grounder back to pitcher Abby Burch. As she threw to first for the force out, Kynzi Morgan tried to score, but was thrown out at the plate for the 1-3-2 double play.

Beebe also made its last out of the first inning on a double play at the plate, but scored three runs before that happened. Leadoff hitter Katlyn Gordon singled to start the inning. Nikita Howell then bunted for a single. Hannah Gammill’s grounder to short bounced off Makenna Smith, leaving everyone safe. Haley Dinapoli then singled to left field to drive in two runs.

Lexy Lockhart grounded out to first base for the first out while Gammill stayed at third and Dinapoli at second. Burch then singled to center field to score Gammill. Dinapoli also tried to score, but was thrown out at the plate. Burch tried to sneak into second on the throw home, but was also thrown out for the 8-2-4 double play.

Beebe (19-12) committed two errors in the top of the second, but got out of a jam that had two in scoring position and one out.

Beebe’s Lexi Devore then reached on an error by the pitcher to start the bottom of the second. After Paige Sharp lined out to third base, Molly Poe singled to put two on for Gordon. She singled to center field to score Devore for a 4-0 Beebe lead. Howell flew out to center field, but Gammill hit a two-RBI double to left to make it 6-0 Beebe.

Dinapoli reached on another CF error, but Gammill was tagged out when second baseman Bailey Carmody gathered up the ball she booted and threw home.

Neither team scored in the third, but Beebe added three more in the fourth to go up by nine runs. Gordon was hit with one out and was still on first when Howell popped up to second base. With two outs, Gammill doubled for the second time to drive in another run. Dinapoli singled to score Gammill for an 8-0 lead. Lockhart then doubled to put runners at second and third. Devore singled to shortstop to score Gammill for Beebe’s final run of the game.

In the top of the fifth, the Lady Cardinals got a base hit to right field and back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases. Morgan was then called on when she stepped across the plate to foul off a 0-2 pitch. Smith then singled to score one run and leave the bases still loaded. Key then hit a grounder to third that was booted into left field, allowing two more runs to score. Two batters later with two outs, Kori Smelser singled to make it 9-4 before Burch struck out Delaney Fogle to get the inning over.

Two more errors helped Camden-Fairview add three more runs in the top of the seventh inning before Beebe finally sealed the win.