Saturday, May 16, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Badgers move on to quarterfinals

Special to The Leader

HOT SPRINGS – The Beebe softball Badgers, the undefeated 5A-Central champions, found runs hard to come by against East four seed Forrest City on Thursday in the first round of the state tournament at Kimery Park. But Lady Badger pitcher Ellie Reaves led the way to a 2-0 victory as Beebe advanced to the quarterfinal round.

Beebe scored twice in only one inning and Reaves pitched her 10th no-hitter of the season to ensure the win for her team.

Beebe was the home team and retired the first three Lady Mustang batters in an unconventional manner as the second batter walked, but was thrown out stealing second with the cleanup batter at the plate. The first and third batters were struck out by Reaves.

After a rain delay, Beebe picked up the bats, but also went down in order with a strike out and two groundouts to the infield.

In the second inning, the Lady Mustangs also went three up, three down and the rain struck again.

In the bottom of the inning the Lady Badgers had two runners reach base but were unable to score. Aleighu Porterfield reached on a line drive off the first baseman’s glove, then after Reaves reached on a fielder’s choice, Haley Dinapoli hit a short fly ball that found the grass in shallow right field. The runners reached second and third, but a strikeout ended the inning.

Reaves struck out the side in the top of the third, and Beebe got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the frame.

With two outs, Courtney Shepard stroked a line drive down the left-field line to the fence for a double. Megan Davlin followed with a double, also to left field, to score Shepard. Davlin then scored on an error for a 2-0 Lady Badger lead.

Again the Lady Mustangs went down in order in the top of the fourth, and Beebe drew two walks, but left the runners stranded.

The last eight batters for Forrest City went down on strikes and although the Lady Badgers picked up a hit in the fifth and doubles by Reaves and Sydney Smith in the sixth, they did not score again, and the final score remained 2-0.

“I thought it was really different to play in that situation where you warm up, and then you sit for 30 minutes, then play half an inning,” said Beebe head coach Eric Chambers. “I thought we did really well in that aspect. We left some runners out there, moved some runners and couldn’t score them. We thought it would be a kind of close game, thinking we might have trouble scoring, and then them having trouble scoring on us, as it kind of panned out. We’re proud, you have to get the first one to keep moving. We didn’t do that last year. It feels a lot better this year.”

Reaves struck out 14 in her no-hitter and walked one for the only Forrest City base runner.

Shepard was 2 for 3 with a double and a single. The Lady Badgers had a total of six base hits.