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Quick-starting Dogs blank Clinton, 5-0

Posted: April 26, 2017 1:50 p.m.
Updated: April 28, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

BRADY WHITE HAD an RBI single in a three-run bottom of the third for Camden in Tuesday’s 5-0 win over Clinton in the first round of the AAA District 4 tournament.

Over the past several seasons, the Camden baseball team has taken its collective game to the next level once the postseason rolls around. That can be a blessing or, a curse said 19th year Bulldog head coach Denny Beckley.

On Tuesday, it was a blessing as the Dogs gave starting pitcher Devin Beckley two runs in the bottom of the first inning. That would be all The Citadel signee would need as he shut down visiting Clinton for six innings in a 5-0 Camden win.

The victory puts the Bulldogs in the winners’ bracket of the AAA District 4 Upper State tournament and kept them at home for Thursday’s second round pairing with Powdersville, a 3-0 winner over Pendleton. Like Camden, Powdersville sent its ace to the mound for the tourney opener.

For Camden, a team which has had its share of problems scoring runs this season, getting off to a quick start and taking the early lead relieved some of the pressure from the district’s top seed.

“I thought it was extremely important,” Denny Beckley said of his team’s getting a two-run cushion after one inning of play. “Our kids have had a lot of success the last few years in the playoffs and they seem to wait on the tournament to be hitting on all cylinders. I’m not agreeing with that mindset but it was important for us to be able to get off to a good start in this game.”

Leadoff hitter Nick Butler sent a surge of confidence through the Bulldog dugout when he ripped the first pitch he saw into the gap in left center for a double. After taking third on Lindsay Pierce’s productive ground out to second base, Butler scored when Devin Beckley reached on a fielders’ choice.

With Ryland Ayers running for the Bulldog pitcher, William Cobb got aboard on an error before Tyler Maxwell’s run-scoring single to left made it 2-0.

Denny Beckley said Butler’s two-bagger was just the pick-me-up the Dogs needed.

“Nick’s hitting that first pitch of the game for a booming gap shot sent a shot of intensity throughout our dugout,” he said. “It really set the stage for the rest of the game for us.”

Devin Beckley pitched his way in and out of trouble as the Red Devils placed eight runners on base through the first six innings but never advanced one of those beyond second. Denny Beckley said the 6-foot-3 right-hander gutted it out on a night in which he had far from his best stuff. 

Devin Beckley allowed three hits while fanning nine batters and walking four in evening his mound mark to 4-4 on the season.

“I thought Devin really struggled,” Denny Beckley said of his son’s outing. “He didn’t have his normal velocity and his command was not what we hoped it would be. That’s a sign of maturity, though, when you can still give your team six innings of shutout ball.”

Camden tacked on three key insurance runs with a two-run rally in the bottom of the third.

Cobb had a good at-bat and worked his way for a walk to get the rally started. Maxwell then launched a shot to left which nearly left the yard while driving Cobb around from first base with the third run. Gus Allen followed with a walk. Maxwell scored on a Brady White single to left while John Bailey’s single to center brought Allen home with the fifth run.

“I thought our being able to score three runs with two outs was the turning points in the game,” said Denny Beckley of the pivotal third frame. “It took the wind out of their sails and made us feel more confident in ourselves.

“I really thought the key at-bat in that inning was Maxwell’s RBI double which came after Cobb did a great job in getting on base with a walk to get us going.”

Devin Beckley was lifted after having thrown 105 pitches through six complete innings. Mikael Nelson came on in the seventh and allowed one hit while striking out a batter to complete the combined two-man shutout.

 

District 4 slate: The winner of Thursday’s game between Camden and Powdersville will advance into and host next Monday’s district championship which, if played in Camden, will begin at 5 p.m. Should Camden have lost to Powdersville, it will host the winner of the Clinton versus Pendleton in Saturday’s elimination game. Should Camden be involved in that contest, it will be played at noon Saturday at American Legion Park.

 

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