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Bulldogs take down Cyclones by a Bunch

Posted: April 6, 2017 1:25 p.m.
Updated: April 7, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Receiving a complete game gem from Holden Bunch and stringing together a season-best 13 hits, Camden moved to within a game of earning, at least, a tie for the Region 4-AAA baseball title with a 9-2 win over visiting Chester Tuesday night at American Legion Park.

The Bulldogs improved to 6-0 in league play with the sweep of the Cyclones, who fell to 3-3 in 4-AAA action.

“We haven’t hit the ball like that all year long,” said Camden head coach Denny Beckley of a night in which 10 different players contributed a hit to his team’s offensive attack.

The evening, however, belonged to Bunch, a tall lefty sophomore who went the distance allowing four hits, while fanning three and walking three. He gave up one earned run.

Bunch pitched a shutout in a 1-0 win over Chesterfield in the Pee Dee Preseason Invitational in February but that hardly compared to pitching in a game which will help decide the conference championship.

“Holden had a great performance against Chesterfield but that game was not played on as big of a stage as this one,” Beckley said. “This was a really big game for us and Holden came up huge at a time when we were counting on him the most.”

In their first meeting with Chester this season, the Dogs eased past the Cyclones, 2-0. Camden surpassed that run total by breaking a scoreless tie with a three-run second inning.

With one gone, catcher Brady White rapped a single before being lifted for courtesy runner Ryland Ayers who stole second before Kyle Currie drew a walk. With two outs, Lindsay Pierce, batting in the ninth hole, had an RBI single. Nick Butler then lined a two-run double to deep left to drive in both Currie and Pierce.

Chester scored an unearned run in the third which the Dogs answered with one in their half of the inning as Devin Beckley had a leadoff single, stole second and scored from third on a Tyler Maxwell single to push the lead back to three runs at 4-1.

A pair in the fourth hiked the hosts’ advantage to 6-1. Butler got aboard on a one-out error and stole second. Campbell Jordan then legged out a bunt along the first base line for a single to put runners on the corners for Devin Beckley who delivered an RBI single to left. Jordan, who stole third, scored on a William Cobb sacrifice fly to raise the advantage to five runs.

Leading, 6-2, Camden added two more runs in the fifth with White ripping a leadoff single before Ayers came on to run for him. Currie was then hit by a pitch before John Bailey’s well-placed bunt single along the third base line loaded the bases for Butler who ground out to second plated Ayers while Currie later scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-2.

The Bulldogs added their final run in the sixth as Devin Beckley got on with a walk and later scored on a wild pitch.

Bunch had his way with the Cyclones on a night in which his bread and butter pitch was the fastball.

“Coach (Joe) Bowers talks about Holden a lot and how, at 6-foot-5, Holden is a big kid with a lot of leverage,” Denny Beckley said. “He’s not an overpowering pitcher but every once in a while, Holden will jam batters with a fastball.

“Holden has been very effective with his curveball and change-up but in this game, Coach Bowers kept on calling fastball, fastball, fastball … we figured if it wasn’t broke, we weren’t going to fix it.”

On breakout offensive night for the Dogs, Devin Beckley went 3-for-3 while White went 2-for-3.

“We really believe that this is going to still be a good hitting team,” Denny Beckley said. “We have been doing a lot of hitting drills and taking a lot of batting practice and hitting with wooden bats. We’re trying not to panic about our offense and it seems to be paying off for us.”

Tuesday also marked the first time Beckley and his staff decided to trot out a new-look batting order. They were pleased with the results.

“Nick (Butler) has been hitting the ball well and Tyler Maxwell has been swinging a hot bat for us,” Denny Beckley said. “We also moved Campbell Jordan, who is just back from a (left) wrist injury, into the two hole and moved Lindsay Pierce down to ninth to get some productivity at the bottom of the order. When we hit like this, we look smart.

“We kind of like the batting order that we went with in this game but we’ll still look to tweak it, if we need to. We’re hoping that it will carry us through the peak portion of our season and into the playoffs.”

Camden’s game with Chapin on Wednesday was postponed due to the weather and will be made up on Monday, April 17. The Dogs were scheduled to have played at Hartsville in a make-up game last night.

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