One night after having to work overtime in a 10-inning, 2-1 non-conference win over Andrew Jackson, the Camden baseball team needed just six innings to sweep its two-game Region 4-AAA series with Fairfield Central. The Bulldogs defeated FC, 15-1, in Winnsboro on Tuesday.
The wins gave Denny Beckley’s squad a 5-3 overall record and, more importantly, after the victory over the Griffins, a 2-0 conference ledger.
In spite of his team having a 10-0 win and a 15-1 victory over FC this season, Beckley said those scores are a bit misleading.
“I really think that they are going to be a pretty good team when it’s all said and done,” he said of Scotty Dean’s squad. “They just didn’t play well in the two games against us.”
The Dogs sent Tate Abbott to the mound on Tuesday and the junior righty allowed one run on four hits while fanning 10 and walking three in a 97-pitch outing.
“The biggest thing that we wanted to see out of Tate was his allowing as few walks as possible,” Beckley said of Abbott’s best start of the young season. “He did a good job of throwing strikes. His curveball was really working for him and his change-up worked fairly well. He did a very good job of keeping their better hitters off-balance with his pitches.
“This was a start that Tate can build from as we look to get the Tate back that we saw last year.”
Camden’s offense provided Abbott with all the run support he would need by getting to FC starter Chris Simmons for five runs in the top of the first before adding one each in the second and third frames. The guests extended the lead to 10-0 with three runs in the fifth before adding five more in the sixth to bring the evening to an early close.
Eight different CHS players had a hit each with Abbott, John Copley, Brady White and Sam Ferguson driving in two runs each. The guests were helped along by five FC errors, 11 walks and a pair of hit batsmen.
Camden’s put-away opening frame was touched off by a walk to leadoff man Bryce Jeffcoat who moved to second when McKenzie Barrineau got aboard on an error. A walk to Abbott loaded the bases for one of Monday night’s heroes, Tyler Maxwell, whose single drove in Jeffcoat with the game’s first run. White followed with an RBI single to left while two more runs came in on Ferguson’s misplayed grounder. Bennett Caldwell, running for White, made it 5-0 when he scored on Jake Tanner’s ground out.
An inning later, an error on a White ground ball plated the sixth run with the Dogs hiking their advantage to 7-0 in the third after Zane Cook walked and scored on a Barrineau single to center.
The Bulldogs went on top, 1-0, by hanging up a three-spot in the fifth. With one gone, Robert Spring singled to left followed by a walk to Abbott. The runners advanced on a passed ball with Spring scoring on a wild pitch. After Maxwell walked, Abbott scored on a White ground out. Maxwell came in with the 10th run after a Ferguson ground ball was booted for an error.
FC extended the game into the sixth inning by getting to Abbott for a run on two hits in the bottom of the fifth.
Camden’s response was to go back on the attack. The Dogs scoredfive times in the sixth with Abbott driving home two runs with a booming double to right before Copley followed with a two-run triple to left which nearly left the yard. Copley scored the 15th run on Caldwell’s sac fly to center.
“We had some really productive at-bats, especially late in the game, which is good to see in a lopsided game like this,” Beckley said. “It was good to see our guys stay focused.”
Maxwell delivers in 10th: If there was ever a good week to play a 10-inning marathon, this was it.
Camden senior Tyler Maxwell smacked the first pitch he saw from Bry Neal with one gone in the bottom of the 10th, sending the ball to left field while driving Bryce Jeffcoat home from second base with the winning run as the Bulldogs scored a 2-1 walk-off win over visiting Andrew Jackson Monday night at American Legion Park.
The victory gave CHS a sweep of their two-game series with the Volunteers. Camden won five nights earlier in Kershaw, 6-5.
“I’m glad that we don’t have to play them again,” Beckley said following the non-region win. “I’ll put AJ’s pitching staff up against anybody in the state. They have a good team. They play the game the right way. I was real excited about how we hung in there and how we were able to come out with the win.”
In a marathon contest, the Bulldogs scored the game’s first run in the home half of the third when Jeffcoat drew a one-out walk, stole both second and third before scoring on Tate Abbott’s two-out opposite field single to left.
AJ evened things by getting to Camden starter Bennett Caldwell for one in the fifth. There would not be another run scored until five frames later.
Caldwell, who missed all three Camden games last week while suffering from the flu, did not seem to be having any after-effects from the illness. The senior right-hander worked the first 6.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits while fanning five and walking two Volunteers. He did so under the watchful eye of Beckley and CHS pitching coach Joe Bowers.
“I was very concerned about Bennett’s stamina. He pitched so darn well, though. He probably pitched more than he should have,” Beckley said of Caldwell’s 98-pitch outing. “After every inning, we asked him if he was all right and he kept saying that he felt good.
“He had great command of his pitches. He had a 67 percent strike rate and had first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 24 batters he faced. When he got a little tired later in the game and his velocity dropped, it really helped with his curveball.”
Camden’s offense managed five hits off a trio of AJ pitchers with shortstop Jake Tanner having two of those.
When Beckley decided to pull Caldwell, he brought Owen Newman to the mound in the middle of the seventh inning. Newman, who had a rough outing in last week’s loss to Lugoff-Elgin, went back and studied his delivery and mechanics from the game video. Newman made the necessary changes to the tune of working 3.2 innings of scoreless, two-hit baseball with a strikeout and a walk.
“Lost in the shuffle of this being a 10-inning game,” Beckley said, “were the tremendous adjustments made by Owen Newman. He had a great outing.
“Owen made some adjustments after the L-E game. He has a good curveball, but he has to keep it low in the zone. When he keeps it up, he gets in trouble. Credit him for making the adjustments. We’re proud of him for staying the course and becoming a good pitcher who is going to help us in some games down the road. This will be a good game for him to fall back on in the future.”