BEATRICE — For the second time this season, Beatrice held at least a five-run lead over Omaha Skutt late in a game.
This time, however, the Class B No. 2 Lady Orange didn't relinquish its squeeze on Skutt.
Sparked by a six-run second inning, an energized Beatrice team powered its way to a 10-1, six-inning win against the top-ranked SkyHawks on Thursday at Hannibal Park.
Beatrice held a six-run lead against Skutt in the LPS Classic on the second Saturday of the season, but Skutt scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to win the first meeting.
“This one is amazing,” Beatrice junior Addison Barnard said. “The first time we were up 7-1 and then we lost, so we’ve just had that motivation all week. We’ve been working really hard for this.
“We were just looking to come out and play as hard as we possibly can and not lose to this team.”
Skutt didn’t get a chance to work any seventh-inning magic Thursday. Beatrice ended the game via run rule in the sixth behind two-run homers from Barnard and Hannah Lytle.
“We used (the first game against Skutt) as motivation, but we’ve talked all year, it’s one game at a time,” Beatrice coach Gary Lytle said. “Look at the big picture, it’s not just Omaha Skutt that we’re trying to beat. You always use it as fire because you don’t want that feeling in your gut at the end of the game.”
Of Beatrice's nine hits, six were either home runs or doubles. Four came in the second inning.
Ashton Sandman and Lytle opened the bottom of the second with back-to-back doubles, and Reganne Henning had a two-run double. Two batters later, Alexis Schwartz hit a two-run homer. Beatrice sent 11 batters to the plate in the second.
“That just changed the tide,” Skutt coach Keith Engelkamp said. “I thought we were making a lot of noise over here (in our dugout) and they were kind of quiet and how quick it changed.
“Hitting is contagious and they were up there just licking their chops, looking for the pitch.”
Barnard, a Wichita State recruit, started the game in the circle but moved to shortstop after dealing with a little arm tightness. Senior Bailey Green backed her up with three scoreless innings. Barnard and Green combined to limit the SkyHawks to four hits.
Beatrice (19-2) has not lost since that Aug. 25 defeat to Skutt (12-3), winning 11 straight. That stretch includes last Saturday’s 2-0 win against No. 3 Elkhorn.
“This win can definitely skyrocket our confidence,” said Barnard, who now has 40 career homers. “I don’t think we’ve play our best yet, so we’re coming.”