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Beebe Badgers: Badgers on the road to success with solid teamPublished March 10, 2013 at 5:00 a.m.
“Going on No. 8” is how coach Mark Crafton, the baseball coach at Beebe High School, describes his tenure as coach as he enters his eighth season with the Badgers.
Crafton holds a 113-81 record with the team, including winning the 5A State Championship in 2010, which Crafton brought to Beebe after only five years with the program.
“I would have never dreamed to have been so blessed in that short amount of time,” Crafton said. “God has been good to me.”
Closing out the 2012 season, the Badgers finished second in the conference and lost to White Hall in the first round of the state tournament, the first time since going to state that the Badgers have lost in the first round.
White Hall went on to win the tournament. Despite that loss, along with the loss of three seniors, Crafton said his team has had to “grow up quick,” and with eight returning seniors and a talented crew to back them, he is optimistic about his team’s chances in this strong conference.
“They have had some personal struggles/hardships they are having to go through and are really working hard on bonding as a team. … That is what made our 2010 state championship team so good,” he said.
Best Hitter for Average: Crafton mentioned senior pitcher/infielder Jared Aschbrenner, saying that he hits around .370 for the Badgers, with a .600 on-base percentage.
Best Power Hitter: Senior pitchers and infielders Brandon Stane and Cody Reaves. “Both have the ability to go deep,” Crafton said, “but with the era of BBCOR dead bats, we don’t focus on that offensive statistic.”
Best Speed: Stane and Aschbrenner have the best velocity off the mound, Crafton said. Other players who “can run fast and cover some ground” include outfielder Conner Patrom and pitcher/outfielder Angus Denton, both freshmen; sophomore outfielder Aaron Nunez; junior infielder/outfielder/pitcher Kord Simpson; and senior outfielders Than Kersey and Pete Drennan.
Best Fielder: “Jared (Aschbrenner) does not make any errors. He can cover some ground, has good range, and if the game is on the line, you want the ball in his hands,” Crafton said.
Best Arm: Of Aschbrenner, Stane and junior pitcher/outfielder Justin Browning, the coach said, “Those three have the ability to throw you out from anywhere on the field.”
The Badgers have a good all-around team and look forward to a competitive season, striving for the “noteworthiness” that a few of the strongest teams in the conference have.
“We coaches and players are always fighting for that conference championship to hopefully give us the chance to compete for the state title,” Crafton said. “Why else would we be out here competing and doing work every day? It is always on our minds in our work habits, practices and games, and we hope to show that in how we play and get after it on the field. Our motto every day is ‘Do work!’”