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Dogs split region games

Posted: March 15, 2013 12:30 p.m.
Updated: March 18, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Denny Beckley is hoping that his Camden High baseball team can find the grit and determination which it displayed in winning all three games in a pre-season tournament.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the Bulldogs sleepwalked through a 9-3 win over Lower Richland in the Region 4-AAA opener before falling to a visiting Hartsville squad, which Camden beat in the pre-season, 8-1. On Friday, Dreher scored an unearned run in the first and eight eight more of the same variety in the second and that was more than enough as the hosts blanked visiting Camden, 9-0.
 “At the beginning of the year,” Beckley said, “we thought that one of our strengths this season was going to be our mental toughness. Now, it’s one of our weaknesses. But it’s a long season and it’s still early. Our guys are going to keep working hard and they’ll get more confidence in themselves and then, things will turn around for us.”
The Bulldogs are 4-3 overall and 1-2 in Region 4-AAA play.
In each of the first two frames, the Blue Devils should have gone down in order against CHS starter Sam Powers, who was relieved in the second inning by Austen Haney, who worked four-plus innings of scoreless ball. But the damage was done early as a CHS error in the first and two more in the second opened the floodgates for the hosts who received a three-hit complete game effort from Allen Burnside.
“He did a good job of mixing up his pitches,” said CHS head coach Denny Beckley of the DHS lefty. “I thought we had some pretty decent at bats against him, though. We hit four or five line drives which were right at somebody, but not nine runs worth, that’s for sure.”
Against LR, Camden scored nine runs on four hits while the hosts scored three times on five hits.
While glad to get the win, Beckley was not entirely pleased with his players’ approach.
“We played the entire game as if we were playing not to lose instead of playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” he said. “We played uptight instead of going out there and being relaxed.”
LR opened the scoring with a run in the third off CHS starter Grey Hoke. The Dogs scored a pair in the fourth as Austen Haney led off with a single and stole second before scoring on Nick Tucker’s single. Bennett Harrelson, who was running for the Bulldog catcher, then swiped second and third before scoring on a Zack Caulder sacrifice fly.
CHS tacked on a run in the fifth and sixth to go up 4-1. In the fifth, Will Morgan walked, stole second and scored on an error. An inning later, Tucker walked and the guests scored thanks to three consecutive walks issued by Diamond Hornet pitching.
After the hosts narrowed the gap to 4-3 with a pair in the sixth, Camden scored five times in the seventh as Brett Halsall’s walk was followed by Lawson stokes reaching on an error to put runners on the corners. Haney’s ground ball was played into an error, driving Halsall home. Tucker then walked to load the bases. A Sam Powers ground out and a Jalen Rice single each plated runs while the final two runs came home on passed balls.
Hoke went the first four innings before Josh Hough worked the fifth and sixth. Haney came on to close this one out in the seventh.
“Grey struggled a little with his consistency,” Beckley said of Hoke’s pitching. “But he did a good job of bearing down when they had runners in scoring position.”
One night later, at American Legion Park, Camden answered a second inning Hartsville run with one in the third to even things at 1-1. The Dogs pushed their lone run of the night across after Rice got on by an error and scored on Tucker’s two-run single.
The Red Foxes answered by scoring four times in the fourth and adding three more in the fifth on a night in which the guest out-hits the Dogs, 14-2.
Freshman Will Abbott worked into the fifth inning and suffered the loss. Cory Brazell came on and went the final three innings.
“I thought Cory pitched well for us,” Beckley said of Brazell’s performance. “He’s been struggling with his location in practice. But he threw very well in his three innings of work; he looked good. We’re excited about being able to get him back into the pitching mix for us.”

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