Friday, May 08, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers ease by Falcons in finale

Leader sports editor

The Beebe Badgers locked up their position in the baseball state playoffs with a 6-0 win in the opener of a 5A-Central doubleheader at North Pulaski on Tuesday, then added to that excitement with a come-from-behind, 4-3 victory in the nightcap.

The conference finale sweep, combined with the Sylvan Hills-Pulaski Academy doubleheader split, puts Beebe as the number three seed from the Central in the state tournament that begins on Thursday. North Pulaski entered Tuesday’s games still in the playoff hunt, but needed a sweep of the Badgers to get in.

Jacksonville won the conference championship with a perfect 14-0 record, while Sylvan Hills, Beebe and Pulaski Academy each went 8-4.

Beebe junior Angus Denton got the shutout win in the opener. He struck out 14 Falcons, including striking out the side in the second, third and sixth innings.

The Badgers scored four runs in the first inning. After an out, Aaron Decker singled and Denton followed with a double to center field. Will Augenbaugh walked before NP pitcher Ean Collie got a strikeout. Collie then walked Dawson Burge and Jake Majors and Tyler Woodall got back-to-back base hits for the final three RBIs.

Beebe added another run in the second inning on a single and a stolen base by Hunter Naramore, a walk by Decker and a base hit by Augenbaugh.

Collie put Beebe down in order in the third and fourth innings, but the Badgers added an insurance run in the fifth. Augenbaugh opened the frame with a leadoff single and scored when Burge’s bunt back to the pitcher was thrown wildly into right field.

Beebe took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first of game two, but the Falcons came back to score three runs in the top of the fourth.

It started with a leadoff single by Chris Penn. Brandon Bridges then bunted his way onto base, and an errant throw to first on the play allowed Penn to score and tie the game. Bridges advanced to second on the play, and scored on an RBI base hit by Chris Hildreth to give the Falcons their first lead.

Zach Douglass popped up for the first out, but Collie singled to put runners on the corners. Myles Bush then put down a perfect sacrifice bunt that scored Hildreth for the 3-1 NP lead.

Beebe cut the margin to 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Denton got a leadoff single and Augenbaugh walked. A passed ball advanced the runners and Angus scored on a 6-3 groundout by Jeffrey Ashley.

Beebe relief pitcher Mark Clairday walked two in the top of the seventh, but got a fly out and two more strikeouts to earn the win. Clairday threw three innings of no-hit ball in relief, with eight strikeouts and four walks.