SPORTS >>Hardball Badgers pound on Panthers
By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor
The Beebe Badgers batted through the lineup in the first and fourth innings, piling up 11 of their 12 runs en route to a 12-8 victory over the Heber Springs Panthers Monday evening at Beebe High School.
The Badgers got 12 runs on 12 base hits and six Heber Springs’ errors. Beebe coach Mark Crafton was pleased with his team’s performance after taking over a week off for spring break.
“You always worry that you’re going to be a little sluggish after a long layoff,” Crafton said. “I was glad to see they came in here with a little spring in their step.”
Beebe committed five errors to go along with 13 Heber Springs base hits, but the Badger pitching did a good job of getting out of jams.
The Panthers got on the board first with an unearned run in the top of the first inning. Steven Bartlett got a one-out single to right field. After Beebe starting pitcher Logan Belew struck out Shawn Adcock, Jonathan Davis reached on an error at first base that would have been the third out of the inning. Teague Thomas then singled to left field to score Bartlett and give the Panthers their short-lived and only lead.
In the bottom of the same inning, the Badgers put four runs on the board to take the lead and would not trail the rest of the way.
Levi Denton started the rally by reaching on an error at shortstop with one out. Sean Robertson followed with a single to left and Kacey Belew got an infield single to load the bases. Jared Toney then got an infield single when his comebacker to the mound careened off the pitcher’s foot and into unmanned territory. Another error, this time at third base, allowed another Beebe run and set up a two-RBI single by Jacob White that capped the Badgers’ opening at bat.
Belew sat Heber down in order in the second, but the Badgers went down the same way. The Panthers added a run in the third to make it 4-2, and that’s when Beebe got its first break. Leadoff hitter Dewey Moffit doubled down the left field line to start the inning, but made a base-runner error moments later. Steve Bartlett then hit a hard shot to left, where the ball bounced off the glove of a diving Levi Denton. Moffitt had to wait to see if Denton would make the catch, when the ball hit the ground, Moffitt broke for third, but was beaten easily by the throw for the first out. Bartlett came around to score after a walk and back-to-back Beebe errors, but it was the only run the Panthers would score in the inning.
Beebe answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the same frame. Jared Toney reached on an error in centerfield, and scored on an RBI base hit by White, his third RBI of the game.
The Panthers tied it with three earned runs in the top of the fourth. Matt Morris, Shane Bryant, Mark Moffitt and Bartlett each got singles in the rally, with Bartlett’s two-RBI single to right field tying the game at five apiece.
The excitment of a close game ended in the next half inning, when Beebe sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs to take command of the game.
Leadoff hitter Roger Glaude, who had hit two hard balls back to the mound, finally got one past the pitcher and into centerfield for his first hit of the game. Levi Denton, who also had hit the ball hard but failed to get on base, suffered some more bad luck when his line drive was snagged at shortstop for the first out. During Denton’s at bat, though, Glaude moved all the way to third base on an errant pick off throw to first base. Robertson singled to centerfield to score Glaude, and Kacey Belew got his second bunt single of the game to put runners on the corners for Jared Toney. Toney responded to the situation with a double in the gap between right and centerfield that drove in both runners.
After Justin Whitehead made the second out of the inning, White reached on Heber’s fifth error of the game, an error that also scored Toney from second.
Jared Mathis got an infield single and Zach Kersey, hitting for Logan Belew, singled to centerfield for an RBI. Another error off Glaude’s bat scored Kersey for the last run of the inning and gave the Badgers a 12-5 lead.
Heber rallied for three runs in the seventh, but after giving up four singles and a triple in the first six at bats, the Badgers got an infield pop up and grounder back to the mound to seal the win.
Toney and White each finished with two hits and three RBIs to lead the way for Beebe offensively.
Jared Mathis and Sean Robertson also had two hits and Robertson added a stolen base and an RBI.
Kacey Belew got two bunt singles from the cleanup spot in the lineup.
The win lifted the Badgers to 8-8 overall. They took on 5A-East leading Wynne last night after Leader deadlines. Look for details of that encounter in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.