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Dogs fall to Woodruff in eight, 5-3

Posted: May 3, 2014 10:28 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2014 5:00 a.m.
C-I photo by Tom Didato/

CAMDEN SECOND BASEMAN Tyler Jordan heads off the field while shortstop Cole Irick (6) applies the tag on Woodruff’s Brian Arnold who was caught in a rundown after being picked off in the third inning of Friday’s game.

Among the things lost in Camden’s extended one-run bottom of the sixth in Friday’s AAA District I baseball tournament opener with Woodruff was the effect the length of the inning had on its starting pitcher Grey Hoke.
In a frame in which the visiting Wolverines made two pitching changes while, for the second time of the night the Dogs would leave the bases filled, CHS carried a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh. Having sat inside the dugout for some 15 minutes on a chilly evening, Hoke was touched up for two runs in the seventh before the third-seeded guests tacked on a pair in the eighth to come away with a 5-1 win over a Camden squad which finished second in Region 4-AAA.
With the loss, the Bulldogs will head to meet top-seeded Greenville tonight at 6:30. The Red Raiders were stunned by fourth-seed Palmetto, 5-0, on Friday.
“Hindsight’s always 20-20,” Beckley said of Hoke’s long stint on the bench in the bottom of the sixth. “But Grey’s been through so many tough situations this year that we thought he was going to be OK.”
The Bulldogs had two golden opportunities to distance themselves from the guests who took a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the fourth. Hoke pitched his way out of further trouble that inning by getting Devon Gist on a called third strike with the bases loaded.
Camden responded by finally getting something going against WHS starter Jason Taylor in the home half of the fourth, which came after the hosts left the bags jammed without scoring a run in the third after the visitors helped out with a pair on infield errors.
Nick Tucker opened the fourth with his second single of the night before the catcher was replaced at first by courtesy runner Zach Boykin. Ross Hough then executed a perfect hit and run, going backside to right field as Boykin landed on third while Hough took second on the late throw to third base in an attempt to try and get Boykin. Austen Haney evened things with a sacrifice fly to center and, after taking third on a wild pitch, Hough was driven in on Will Abbott’s sac fly to center for a 2-1 Bulldog lead.
Camden looked to be ready to put the final touches on this one in the sixth as Hough got things going by drawing a one-out walk. Haney followed with a single to right which ended Taylor’s evening as shortstop Jake Smith was brought to the mound.
Smith’s had a short, but eventful outing as he walked Abbott to load the bases before hitting pinch-hitter Boykin on a 3-2 pitch to bring Hough in from third. That was enough to bring Brian Arnold to the mound in the second pitching change of the drawn-out inning.
Arnold put out the fire by getting a strikeout and a fly ball out to center field to minimize the damage with the Camden lead standing at 3-1.
The sixth marked the second time CHS left the bases loaded on a night in which the Dogs left eight men hanging on the base paths.
“That’s what happens in playoff baseball,” Beckley said of his team’s two chances for big innings in the third and sixth. “In the fourth, we manufactured those runs with a pair of sacrifice flies. Then (in the sixth), you feel like you’re in good shape with the bases loaded and one out , then you have a strikeout and a pop-up.
“It’s a tough situation. In close ballgames, you look back on those one or two plays … they didn’t go our way tonight.”
WHS opened the seventh with a leadoff double --- the lone extra base hit of the night --- from Scott Ramey to deep left. Gist followed by sending a slow roller beyond the mound, beating out the throw from shortstop Cole Irick to put men on first and second for pinch-hitter Jacob Brown whose ground out to Lawson Stokes at first base advanced the runners into scoring position.
Arnold made it a 3-2 game with a single to right which put an end to Hoke’s night as Josh Hough came on in relief. WHS tried to get Arnold into scoring position only to have Tucker’s laser to Irick covering second cut down the would-be base stealer.
Avery Green greeted Hough by hitting an outside pitch off the end of his bat which made it into center field as Gist scored the tying run.
After CHS went down in order in the seventh, Woodruff opened the eight with consecutive singles from Smith and Bradley Davis as Beckley called on Irick to pitch while Josh Hough moved to second base in an attempt to get more fielders in the infield to handle any possible bunt attempts. Instead, the pair advanced on a passed ball. Ramey’s roller to second plated Smith with the fourth run while Gist’s grounder to Irick, who made a perfect throw to first for the out while having slid to field the roller, allowed Davis to score the fifth run as the large Camden contingent went silent.
CHS received a leadoff single from Ross Hough to start the eighth, but Arnold retired the next three batters to close the night.
Woodruff out-hit the hosts, 10-9, with Darius Smith, Ross Hough, Irick and Tucker collecting two singles each for CHS. But it was the Wolverines who came up with the clutch hits when things got tight, getting five singles and a double in the seventh and eighth frames.
“They’re a very, very good team,” Beckley said of Woodruff. “They’re scrappy and they hit the ball well. Hat’s off to them. They got the big hits when they needed them.”


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