By JD McCarthy
For the Opelika Observer
In their two games Saturday, Beulah showed what they are capable of when playing their best as well as how far they need to go to consistently play at that level.
The Lady Bobcats started the day with a 12-0 win over Russell County and were in complete control from the first pitch. The Lady Bobcats scored three runs in the first, four in the second and five in the fifth before the game came to a close.
“It was nice,” head coach Stan Pepper said of the win. “The girls hit the ball well, I was pleased with that game.”
The stars of the show were Abrianna Green and Brandy Phillips, who each belted two home runs. Green, who bats leadoff for Beulah, hit a leadoff home run for the Bobcats and finished with two RBI and three runs scored.
“She’s done an outstanding job for us,” Pepper said of Green. “She hits the ball violently; she has a violent swing. When we are in the cage, she is just really violent with the bat and has a good eye for the ball. She works extremely hard on that phase of the game, she’s in the cage all the time trying to get better and improve and it’s really paying off for her.”
Not to be outdone, Phillips went 3-for-3 with two home runs, four RBI and three runs scored. She also pitched two innings and had two strikeouts.
After the win, Beulah had a quick turnaround before they faced Wetumpka, a team Pepper believes is one of the best in the state.
Through five and a half innings it was Beulah who had the upper hand, leading 1-0. But in the bottom of the sixth, disaster struck the defense. The Lady Bobcats made several errors and Wetumpka was able to take a 4-1 lead and with a 90-minute time limit the game was over before Beulah had a chance to respond.
“Got everything well in hand we thought and the wheels kind of fell off from a defensive standpoint,” Pepper said.
The Lady Bobcats lone run came on a Katie Morris solo home run in the third inning. Morris was also the pitcher for Beulah and had another strong game, pitching 5.2 innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on five hits and striking out 10 batters.
The loss, their first since March 24, dropped the Lady Bobcats to 19-12 on the season, but Pepper would rather lose now and learn from their mistakes than in the postseason when there are no second chances.
“I’d rather lose now and learn from it and have time to correct it then have that happen later on in the year when it’s a critical time of the season and you just can’t afford to make those mistakes,” he said. “You are going to lose games and you just need to learn from those losses, just like you learn from wins.”
The biggest thing Pepper wants to see from his team is working on fixing their mistakes and consistency, in all phases of the game.
“I want to see corrections. I want to see the girls take to them and I want to see us getting better every chance we can. Just overall improvement,” he explained. “As long as we have consistency and keep improving every day, I feel confident in my girls. I really like this team. I really like the comradery. I like the teamwork. I like their chemistry and we are looking forward to the remainder of the season.”
If his team can accomplish that, Pepper likes their chances in the postseason, which is just a few weeks away.
“They are really doing a good job and I’m really proud of them.”