JESSIEVILLE -  The Arkadelphia Badgers enter the blended conference play on Tuesday afternoon with an 8-2 win over the Jessieville Lions at the North Garland County Youth Park.
The win was the second on the season for the Badgers and Drew Saunders picked up the win again for Arkadelphia on the mound.
“It was a good way to start off conference,” Arkadelphia head baseball coach Brant Matros said. “Drew came out and did another great job. He has our two wins right now. He fills it up and we play really good defense behind him.”
The Badgers struck first in the top of the first inning when Alec Ruble walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Ruble stole third when Braydon Todd walked. Ruble scored on a double-steal and Todd was safe at second, but was left stranded at third base.
Saunders fielded a grounder, then a pop-fly to second base and a fly ball to center field by Jessieville ended the first inning quickly. Foxx Ward got a double up the middle in the top of the second inning with one out, but a grounder back to the pitcher and a ground out to third base ended the potential threat with Ward standing on third base.
A fly ball out to left field, a grounder to short and a fly ball to center field by the Lions ended the second inning.
Ruble led off the top of the third inning with a walk and Eric Groom was hit by a pitch. Jessieville turned a double-play and got a fly ball out to center field to end the potential threat by the Badgers. The Lions threatened in the bottom of the third. Saunders struck out the first batter he faced and the second reached on a throwing error. After a fly ball out to left field, a walk was issued and a single to left field loaded the bases. A fielder’s choice ended the inning without Jessieville getting a score.
In the top of the fourth inning, Turner Pentecost singled to right field with one out. Pentecost stole second. With two outs, Alec Lewis was hit by a pitch and River Melugin reached on an infield to load the bases. Ruble walked to bring in Pentecost then Groom doubled in two runs and Todd doubled down the left field line to score two more runs for Arkadelphia. The Badgers led 6-0.
Jessieville got a solo home to right-center field with one out and a single, but only scored the one run. In the top of the fifth, Maddox Breashears walked and move dot third when Pentecost and Ward laid down sacrifice bunts. A long fly ball to center field ended the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth, Sanders struck out the first batter. The second Lion reached on an error, but Breashears caught to long fly ball outs in center field to end the inning.
The Badgers scored another run in the top of the sixth when Ruble doubled to left-center with one out and scored when Todd singled to right field. Todd went to second on the play. Arkadelphia led 7-1.
Todd came in to pitch for Saunders in the bottom of the sixth he fielded a grounder on his second pitch for the first out, but walked the second batter. Todd stuck out the third batter and picked off the walked Lion at first base for the third out.
In the top of the seventh, Ward singled to left field and went to second on a wild pitch. Josh Wallace doubled to left field to score Ward and put the Badgers ahead 8-1. Jessieville was able to pick up a run in the bottom of the seventh.
“Still, early we left runs out there and against a team like that, they can swing it,” Matros said. “They made some big-time defensive plays early in the game and that kind of took us out some runs. We had a big inning there late and made them go to their bullpen. We put a run up and kind of stuck with it, but if we can put some runs up early, we can put some teams down early and that’s what we are going to work on.”