Camden scored four times in the top of the seventh to erase a 5-2 deficit and left Kershaw with a 6-5 win over Andrew Jackson in a Wednesday night non-region baseball game.
The Bulldogs improved to 2-3 overall heading into tonight’s Region 4-AAA opener against visiting Fairfield Central at American Legion Park. AJ, ranked third in the South Carolina Baseball Coaches Association AA preseason poll, fell to 1-1 in regular season action.
Trailing, 5-2, after six frames, Camden parlayed two hits into four runs with Shelah Lee’s two-run double being the difference as it plated the tying and winning runs.
Lee, a junior outfielder, came off the bench after a back injury sidelined starting centerfielder Matthew Cassidy at the end of the fifth inning. Lee drove in Camden’s second run of the game with a sixth inning single before sending a two-run line drive to right to complete the comeback.
Camden head coach Denny Beckley, whose team did not take batting practice Wednesday since there was a junior varsity game to open the evening, praised Lee for coming in cold and delivering.
“Shelah came off the bench on a 40-degree night without having warmed up and went right into the game,” Beckley said. “He hit a pair of lasers on his two at-bats and now leads our team with three RBIs.
“It was an unbelievable night for Shelah in cold conditions and for him to come through like he did for us.”
The Volunteers scored solo runs in the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead before Camden hit the board in the fifth off reliever Bry Neal, who followed starter Chas DeBruhl, who pitched one-hit ball over the first three frames.
Cassidy opened the first with a bunt single along the third base line. After moving to second on a Bryce Jeffcoat single and taking third in a fielders’ choice, Cassidy scored on Brady White’s two-out single to left.
AJ answered with a two-spot in the home half of the fifth to extend its lead to 4-1.
Holden Bunch opened the top of the sixth with a single to center for Camden. A Jake Tanner walk and a Robert Spring single to center loaded the bases for Lee, who sent an RBI single into left to drive in Bunch. The guests were uanble to inflict any furher damage in spite of still having the bases loaded with not outs as AJ turned a double play ball to squash any further damage.
The Vols used a run in the bottom of the sixth to increase their lead to 5-2.
Camden’s seventh inning uprising started with White drawing a leadoff walk before Jacob Jordan came on as a courtesy runner. Sam Ferguson, who started the game on the mound for the Bulldogs, then sent a double --- his second hit of the game --- to right which put runners on second and third with no outs. A walk to Bunch gave CHS its second bases loaded with no outs situation in as many innings.
A wild pitch scored Jordan as Ferguson pulled into second on the play. A walk issued to Jake Tanner re-loaded the bases for Spring whose ground out knocked in Ferguson as the Dogs climbed to within 5-4.
Lee then hit a liner to right center as Bunch and Tanner came around to score the fifth and sixth runs, respectively.
Beckley sent Tanner to the mound to start the seventh from his shortstop position and the right-hander worked a perfect final frame, fannng the third batter he faced to close the night.
Ferguson worked the first 4.1 innings for Camden with the junior allowing four hits, fanning five while walking four. Of the four runs he allowed, only one was earned as the Bulldogs committed four errors in the field.
Unearned runs has been the story of the early season for Camden.
“We have allowed 28 runs in five games and 20 of those have been unearned,” Beckley said before talking about Ferguson’s night on the bump.
“I thought Sam gave us a great performance. He kept us in the ballgame,” Beckley said. “three of the unearned runs that he gave up came on two-out errors. Those plays have to be made.
“I thought Sam did a great job of working around the walks and staying positive. Hea has done a very good job of staying under control and keeping us in the game.”
Zane Cook came on in relief of Ferguson and the sophomore worked 1.2 innings, allowing a pair of hits, fanning two, walking a pair while allowing two runs, one of which was earned.
Camden strung together nine hits in the win with Lee and Ferguson each having a two-hit night with Lee driving in three runs.
One night after a tough 11-2 loss to Lugoff-Elgin, Beckley said he was proud of the way his team answered the call when faced with adversity on Wednesday. He said it was a “huge” win while explaining why.
“This was a game which we will be able to look back on as use as motivation when we are behind late in games,” he said. “We always talk about it but until you do it, you really can’t see that it happened.
“This shows that you are never out of a ballgame and that you have to keep on fighting all the way through to the end.”