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Beckley, Cobb combine on a one-hitter in Bulldog win

Posted: March 3, 2016 1:28 p.m.
Updated: March 4, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Last season, as a sophomore, Camden’s Devin Beckley threw a no-hitter and followed that start with a one-hitter.

After a rocky first game this season, the Bulldog right-hander settled down to combine with William Cobb on a one-hitter in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over West Florence in the Pee Dee Invitational Preseason Tournament.

Camden finished with a 2-1 record in pool play and was scheduled to have faced Marlboro County in Thurday’s tourney finale.

As was the case in his gems from a year ago, Beckley struggled out of the gate. He gave up his lone hit and walked two batters in a first inning in which the Knights scored an unearned run before Nick Butler gunned down the third out at the plate with his throw from the outfield. Beckley then hit two batters in the second.

That tough opening led first-year CHS pitching coach Joe Bowers to trying to get his junior pitcher to relax.

“Devin had a rough start but he really settled down after that,” said CHS head coach Denny Beckley. “Coach Bowers talked with Devin and they tweaked his mechanics. After that, Devin was able to find his release point.

“Coach Bowers also got Devin to throw the changeup more and that helped him later in the game when he started getting a little tired out there.”

Devin Beckley fanned six batters in working the first six frames. Cobb, a junior righty, came in and sealed the deal in getting three straight ground ball outs in the seventh.

Denny Beckley said Cobb is someome who may be able to help on the mound as well as his regular spot at first base.

“We feel like William may be able to help us on the mound but we’re not 100 percent sure about that,” Denny Beckley said. “We have three or four guys who we are looking at in (a reliever’s role) but obviously, seeing what he did in this game gives us confidence in William.”

Camden trailed by a run heading into the top of the sixth before knotting things with a run.

Devin Beckley got aboard when he was hit by a pitch. Courtesy runner Kyle Currie would move to second on a wild pitch before advancing to third on Campbell Jordan’s single to right. Currie came home on a Gus Allen fielders’ choice.

The Dogs pushed the winning run across in the seventh as Connor Newman rapped a leadoff single, stole second on the next pitch and advanced to third on Butler’s sacrifice bunt. Newman scored the eventual game-winning run when Christian Flick’s fly ball to center field was dropped.

Offensively, Camden had four hits from as many different batters against a pair of good Knight pitchers.

“Both their pitchers had good velocity and both of them kept the ball down in the zone,” said Denny Beckley. “We took an enormous amount of fastballs in this game. A lot of that had to do with the pitches being in the bottom half of the strike zone along with our not being aggressive at the plate.

“We did do a good job with our situational hitting in the few chances that we had.”

Dogs divide first two games: Camden High baseball coach Denny Beckley was hoping the team which took the field for Saturday’s opening game of the Pee Dee Invitational Preseason Tournament was not the same one which he sent out two nights later against Darlington.

After having been blanked by McBee, 6-0, in an opening round contest in which they struck out 14 times, the Bulldogs rebounded with a 15-hit effort in a 16-5 thumping of Darlington on Monday at West Florence High School.

Trailing the Falcons, 5-2, after three innings Camden exploded for eight runs in the fourth before adding six more in the seventh in a game which had Denny Beckley and hitting coach Brian Kersey scratching their heads as to what happened to their team’s offense.

“I talked to Coach Kersey after the third inning and we said that we should have been hitting their pitching better than we had been,” Beckley said. “I think it came from panicking after that first game when we had no offense at all. I think our kids were frustrated early on (against Darlington) due to our lack of success on Saturday. 

“All we had to do in this game was to relax at the plate and eventually, we would get to him.”

Darlington scored two runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead. Camden pushed a run across in the second when Jordan collected the first of his three hits in the game with a one-out single. He scored when Newman’s ground ball was booted for an error.

Trailing 3-1 after two frames, the Dogs cut the lead to 3-2 with a solo run in the third as Cobb rapped a leadoff single. He would score on Jordan’s two-out RBI double.

After the Falcons added two runs to go on top, 5-2, after three innings, CHS exploded for eight runs in the fourth.

The Camden rally started with Butler’s one-out walk which was followed by a Flick single. Cobb, who singled and doubled in his first two at-bats, was walked intentionally to load the bases for Will Abbott whose infield single drove in Butler. Devin Beckley and Jordan followed with RBI singles while Connor Morrow’s bases-loaded walk brought home another run. Brandon Dow and Newman had run-scoring singles while Butler’s being hit by a pitch plated the eighth run of the inning as the Dogs went on top, 10-5.

Camden put this one well out of reach thanks to a six-run top of the seventh which opened with Abbott reaching on an error. Beckley then singled to left before Jordan’s fly ball to right field was dropped for an error which loaded the bases. Morrow brought Abbott home when he was plunked by a pitch before Dow drew an RBI walk to make it 12-5.

Pinch-hitters Allen, Parker Gogan and Mikael Nelson then, all plated runners with a walk, a single and a walk, respectively.

Jordan worked into the third inning on the mound for Camden before being relieved by Dow, who went the final five frames to earn the win. The senior right-hander allowed three hits while fanning seven batters in a scoreless stint.

For Beckley, Dow looked like the pitcher the Bulldogs saw late last season.

“Brandon struggled in one of our scrimmages and also had an injury to his non-pitching shoulder which had us concerned,” he said. “We wanted to limit what he did on the mound but he was doing so well that we kept him in there.

“Brandon has a quirky windup which keeps batters off balance. He was getting his curveball over early in the count and was able to work backwards. After that, he was able to get the fastball going. It was really vintage Brandon Dow from last year. We’re excited about getting him back on track.”

Offensively for CHS, Jordan went 3-for-5 while Devin Beckley, Butler,  Cobb and Newman each enjoyed two-hit nights.

Following Thursday’s game, the Bulldogs will open regular season play when they host Wilson Hall next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. before traveling to Lugoff-Elgin on Wednesday in a 7 p.m. start.

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