Leader Blues

Friday, March 21, 2008

SPORTS >>Lady Badgers keep rolling with sweep

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Beebe senior pitcher Ashley Watkins continued her early domination as the Lady Badgers shut out Greene County Tech, 4-0 and 1-0 on Thursday.

The Lady Eagles came into the 5A-East Conference twin bill with a ton of momentum, after sweeping perennial powerhouse Wynne one week earlier.

Watkins was working toward a perfect game through four innings in the nightcap, but gave up a walk in the top of the fifth inning and an infield hit in the top of the sixth.

Freshman Megan Harris relieved Watkins in the top of the fifth inning of game one. She gave up a pair of hits in the fifth inning, but was able to close out strong by retiring the final six Lady Eagle batters in order.

“I think we had one error tonight,” Lady Badgers coach Terry Flenor said. “We just feel like every time if we’re going to get good pitching, and we have good defense, we’re going to be in every game.”

GCT reliever Jordan Gardener also had a strong night on the mound, but it was starting ace Heather Green’s early struggles that put the Lady Eagles in trouble.

Green gave up two walks and a hit in the first inning of game one. Chelsea Sanders’ single to left drovein Tucker to stake the Lady Badgers to the early lead.

Green settled down for the second inning, but the bottom of the third inning proved to be her undoing. The Lady Badgers went through their entire lineup, picking up two hits and cashing in on three walks and a GCT error.

Harris drove in the final run of the first game for the Lady Badgers with a blooper to centerfield that allowed courtesy runner Amanda Wheeler to cross the plate to set the game’s final margin.

“The first pitcher was their number one, and she’s a pretty hard thrower,” Flenor said. “We were working pretty good against her; our timing was good, and then this other girl was throwing a lot slower. To her credit, we never did adjust.

“We hit a few line drives in that last game in the fifth and sixth inning, but we didn’t hit many hard balls off her. It was just a matter of us not being able to time her pitches.”

Tucker started the second game for Beebe with a bunt single and eventually scored when she slid safely in under the tag after Bass’ bunt.

The Lady Badgers threatened for more, but the Tech third baseman turned a nifty double play on Sanders’ grounder.

Watkins’ flawless game two ended when she walked a GCT sub in the top of the fifth, but catcher Sanders threw her out trying to steal.

Mallory Green was the only batter to get a hit off Watkins the entire night with a bunt in the top of the sixth inning, but she, too, was gunned down by Sanders.

Flenor said Watkins’ strong performance was on cue with her other early season performances.

“She’s pitched all of our varsity games so far,” Flenor said. “She’s allowed a few more hits than this in our first two games, but she still hasn’t given up an earned run.”

Sanders led the way for Beebe offensively in game one, going 1-of-3 with two RBI. Harris was 1-of-3 with an RBI.
Tucker went 2-of-3 in the nightcap, and Watkins was 1-of-3 with an RBI.

Watkins took the win in both games, and dealt out 13 strikeouts for the evening. Harris struck out two while allowing two hits.

The win improve the Lady Badgers to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the 5A-East Conference. GCT fell to 5-3-1 overall and 2-2 in conference.