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Walk-off grand slam dooms Dogs

Posted: May 6, 2014 11:42 a.m.
Updated: May 7, 2014 5:00 a.m.

It would probably suit Denny Beckley just fine if he never had to bring his Camden High baseball team to Greenville again.
For the second time in as many years, the host Red Raiders put an end to Camden’s season. And, for the second time in three games, they did so with a walk-off home run.
Last year, it was Glenn Batson’s three-run walk-off home run --- his third of the game --- which gave Greenville a 7-6 win over the Bulldogs in the state tourney opener. GHS then knocked Camden out of the event with an 8-4 victory.
Monday night, in a 3A District 1 elimination game, the Red Raiders’ Ben Paden sent a two-out, two-strike wind-aided grand slam over the center field fence to give the hosts a 6-3 win over a Camden team which scored three times in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. The game-ending blow came on the heels of the Bulldogs’ losing a 5-3, eight-inning heartbreaker to Woodruff last Friday night.
Beckley was not shy about disguising his feelings following Monday’s loss.
“In my entire coaching career,” he said, “this is the most hurt I have ever felt after a game.
“We fought back from being down 2-0 and we did a great job of putting the ball in play in the (top of the) seventh then, they hit a fly ball to center for a home run to win the game. We just felt that with the way we play the game and the way we approach the game, that this one was supposed to go our way but it didn’t work out that way for us.”
GHS broke a scoreless tie by getting to Camden sophomore Will Abbott for two runs in the fifth as Cody Mitchell sent a two-out bases-loaded single to left to drive in the game’s first two runs.
Lucas Coan held the Dogs’ bat at bay for six innings as the lefty got had nine fly ball outs.
“(Coan) did a good job of neutralizing our aggressiveness at the plate by working up in the zone and getting up to pop up,” Beckley said.
The Dogs got to Coan in the seventh as Nick Tucker smacked a one-out double which was followed by Ross Hough’s first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field. Austen Haney kept the inning going with a single before stealing second. Bennett Harrelson then was hit by a pitch before Haney stole third and scored on a wild pitch.
Pinch-hitter Zach Boykin kept the inning going by drawing a two-out walk. Darius Smith then legged out an infield single to load the bases before a strikeout ended the rally and set up the GHS seventh.
Abbott went the distance, allowing four hits while walking five and hitting three batters.
“Will did a tremendous job of bearing down and getting out of some difficult situations,” Beckley said of his right-hander. “He was able to get some big outs in key situations. He has an unbelievable competitive spirit about him which sometimes, can be detrimental to him.”
Beckley, whose offense received two hits from Hough, said his team did not suffer any lingering after-effects from the loss to Woodruff.
“Not at all,” he said. “Our guys had a lot of confidence going into this game. We played toe-to-toe with Greenville last year and we felt good about our chances going up there again.
“We were ready to go. We believed that we could win this game. That’s what makes the loss hurt as much as it does.”

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