With Friday having been a day off for students in Kershaw County, several members of the Camden High baseball team used part of their day to head over to American Legion Park to get in some additional batting practice for that evening’s home game with Lakewood.
The time in the batting cage paid off as the Bulldogs snapped out of their offensive doldrums as they scored 15 runs on as many hits in a 15-5 victory over the Gators. The game was stopped after four and a half innings by the 10-run rule.
“We finally hit the ball,” said CHS head coach Denny Beckley, whose team improved to 2-2 in Region 6-AAA play with the one-sided win.
The hosts used a nine-run third frame to pull away to a 14-3 lead.
Camden answered a one-run LHS first by scoring five times in the bottom of the first inning.
Darius Smith got things started for the Dogs by sending the first pitch he saw into left field for a leadoff single. Ross Hough was then asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt, which was played into an error with both freshmen getting aboard. Jake Ansley, who went the first four innings on the mound, helped himself with a two-run triple along the left field line.
Will Hough drove in Ansley with a single before stealing second base. A Zack Caulder single put runners on the corners before Caulder swiped second. Josh Lund’s sacrifice fly plated Will Hough with the fourth run while Will Morgan’s fielders’ choice brought Caulder home for a 5-1 lead.
After the Gators tacked on two more runs in the third, the Bulldogs responded with a nine-spot in their portion of an inning which got going with a one-out single by Kevin Collins. Morgan was then hit by a pitch before Smith walked to load the bases. A Ross Hough single drove in a run while Ansley’s double sent two runners home. Will Hough followed with a two-run triple before he came in on Caulder’s sac fly.
A Nick Tucker single was followed by Collins’ two-run double. Morgan would make it a 14-3 game with his two-out, two-strike RBI single.
Camden went up by 11 runs by matching a Lakewood run in the fourth with one of its own as Korey Nelson rapped a single before scoring on a pinch-hit Cole Irick double.
Ansley was lifted after four innings of work as freshman Sam Powers came on to work the fifth and final frame. The pair combined to allow four hits.
The Camden offense was led by a trio of seniors. Ansley went 3-for-3 with a triple, two doubles while driving in four runs. Will Hough had a triple, single and three RBI with Collins collecting a double, a single and knocking in a pair of runners.
Beckley said he was pleased to see the offense come around. More importantly, he said he enjoyed seeing the upperclassmen come though at the plate.
“I thought it was important that our seniors had a good game for us like they did,” he said. “There is a lot of talk and hype about our freshman class and it has taken away from what our seniors are doing. It was important for our senior players to have a big night for us.”
With two losses in four games, CHS sits in fourth place in conference play behind Darlington (4-0) and Marlboro County and Hartsville, both 3-1.
“We feel that our conference is as balanced as it has ever been,” Beckley said. “If we slipped up and had lost this game, we would have been fighting for a playoff spot. This win keeps us in the fight for the region championship and not just a spot in the playoffs.”
Knights rebound with a win: In an opening week of play in Region 3-A, the last thing the North Central baseball team needed was to start conference play with an 0-2 mark.
Thanks to a five RBI night from Tyler Bowers and the combined mound efforts of Broderick Gaither and Grayson King, the Knights rebounded from Tuesday’s loss to Chesterfield with a resounding 9-1 road victory over Region 3-A foe Great Falls on Friday.
While not putting this in the must-win category, Cash said it was important that his team came out ready to get back to .500 after two region games.
“This was a huge win for us,” said the third-year NC boss. “I thought our guys regrouped well and were able to put the (Chesterfield) loss behind us.
“We came out swinging the bats well and we had two guys who threw the ball well. All the work that we have been doing on the fundamentals is paying off for us.”
NC scored a run right off the bat as Gaither led off the game with a single. Bowers followed suit before King drove Gaither home with a ground out.
Four innings later, Gaither got aboard with a single. Bowers followed by sending a rocket well beyond the fence in right center for a two-run homer and a 3-1 lead.
Gaither, who started the game on the mound, was lifted with one out in the bottom of the fifth. The sophomore lefty allowed two hits in an important mound stint which got off to a rocky start as he issued a pair of first inning walks.
Cash decided to bring in King, who went the distance on Tuesday, to close this one out. The junior right-hander worked to eight batters, throwing 25 pitches while fanning six to earn his first save of the season.
“With the difference in speed going from Broderick to Grayson,” Cash said, “Great Falls had no chance of hitting Grayson.”
Bowers, an eighth-grade shortstop, would help put this one of reach as the guests exploded for six runs in the top of the sixth.
Andrew Galuppi opened the frame by drawing a walk. Ryan Baker then added a single with both runners scoring on a single off the bat of Raijon Jones. Jones came across with the sixth run on a J.P. Faulkenberry single.
The inning stayed alive with consecutive singles from Levi Williams and Gaither. That set the stage for Bowers who sent another no-doubter into the night sky, again, to right center.
As for his team’s win at Great Falls, Cash said it was like getting two victories on the same night.
“A road win against one of the top teams in our conference is good for us.”
Demons knock off Silver Foxes: Three nights after having lost a 14-inning game to Spring Valley, Lugoff-Elgin needed just seven frames in order to handle Dutch Fork.
The Demons improved to 2-1 in Region 4-4A action with a 4-3 win over the Silver Foxes on Friday night.
Junior lefty Taylor Lunsford earned his second victory in as many decisions.
Offensively, Dylan Grigsby led the Demons with a 3-for-4 night while Gunner Smith and Jacob Young both went 2-for-4.