SPORTS >> Badgers pummel Bears in Classic victory
Leader sports editor
Griffin Glaude found his bat Thursday night.
And he used it to pummel Sylvan Hills as the Beebe Badgers beat the Bears 16-6 in the run-ruled final of the Jacksonville Red Devil Classic at Dupree Park.
Glaude pitched in relief but made a bigger impact at the plate with two home runs and six RBI. He hit a two-run home run in the fifth and a three-run shot in the sixth to give the Badgers (5-1) the margin they needed to shorten the game by an inning because of the run rule.
“He’s really been searching for that bat here early and he came around with it today,” Beebe coach Mark Crafton said.
It was the first loss of the season for Sylvan Hills (4-1), a perennial contender in the 5A-Southeast and the state tournament, but coach Denny Tipton said the Bears didn’t help themselves with multiple errors and walks that set the table for the Badgers hitters.
“We made six errors, I think, five errors,” Tipton said. “You walk and you make errors against a good hitting team like Beebe and they’re going to beat you.”
Beebe held a 4-1 lead after three innings and put together a five-run fourth that made it 9-1, but Sylvan Hills erupted with a five-run fourth. The inning featured five hits, including Blake Rasdon’s two-run double and catcher Lance Hunter’s three-run home run over the left-field fence that pulled the Bears within 9-6.
The Badgers got a pair of runs in the top of the fifth as Bryant Lawson tripled and Glaude hit his first home run to make it 11-6.
Glaude delivered his second homer of the night in the sixth, when he drove reliever Michael Lock’s pitch over the right-field fence for a three-run shot and his sixth RBI as part of the Badgers’ five-run inning that gave them the 16-6 lead.
“Our guys one through nine have been doing a very good job of hitting,” Crafton said. “Even in a defensive count we’ve been doing a good job.”
Glaude then retired the Bears in order in the ninth to lock up the victory.
“We’ve played a lot of good competition out here,” Crafton said of the Red Devil Classic. “Of course Sylvan Hills is a conference foe and we’re going to see them again twice this year. It gives us momentum going into the conference games because we’re always battling Sylvan Hills for a spot in the state tournament.”
Beebe starting left-hander Bryson Scott hit the first pitch of the game over the left-center field fence to give the Badgers an early lead. Sylvan Hills third baseman and UALR signee Jordan Spears returned the favor when he hit Scott’s two-out, two-strike pitch over the fence near the same spot to tie it in the bottom of the first.
Some Beebe hustle and a pair of Sylvan Hills errors gave the Badgers a 3-1 lead in the second.
Leadoff hitter Dylan Byrd reached second on a fielding error by Michael Maddox in center, Dillon Lindsey drew a one-out walk and Adam Naramore moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt.
Jared Ashbrenner then beat out a grounder to second for an infield hit that scored Byrd, and Lindsey scored on second baseman Daulton Freeling’s throwing error.
Rasdon, the Bears starter, walked five in the third, including Lindsey, who forced in Ryan Williams when he drew a bases-loaded walk that made it 4-1.
“The biggest deal is we gave them opportunities and they capitalized on the opportunities tonight,” Tipton said.
Shortstop Kory Arnold replaced Rasdon to start the fourth and gave up five runs, four earned, as Beebe cashed in on a walk and another Sylvan Hills throwing error with RBI singles from Glaude — on an infield hit — and Lindsey and a two-run double from Byrd.
Glaude came in from shortstop to relieve Rasdon, who went to right, and got the final two outs of the fourth.
“We kind of got ahead and let Sylvan Hills back in the game,” Crafton said. “And we kept plugging away. The guys settled down and that’s a good thing to see because we’ve got a lot of baseball left.”