Campbell walks past Nicholas in 10th Region baseball quarterfinals

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As one of the top teams in the 10th Region all season long, Campbell County expected to be back in the semifinals and expectations became reality, just not in the way anyone intended.

It wasn’t hits or homeruns that were responsible for the scoring. It was walks, the Camels drawing 20 of them, the most in a single game in KHSAA history, according to the KHSAA record book.

The Camels capitalized off the walks along with three hit batters to run-rule Nicholas County 12-2 in six innings.

The Bluejackets started Ryan Johnson, who came in with a 4.65 ERA and striking out 95 in 41.2 innings. In four innings pitched on Tuesday, Johnson gave up three runs and struck out eight. He surrendered two runs early due to two walks and two hit batters, giving Campbell the early lead.

“Ryan Johnson is a great pitcher, he had good velocity and had a good slider. When he throws strikes, he’s pretty unhittable. You saw that tonight. I think he walked with bases loaded a couple times and we didn’t really scratch much across because he’s a dominant pitcher when he’s on and throwing strikes.” Camels coach Scott Schweitzer said.

Nicholas County answered right away. Two runs were scored by the Bluejackets on five walks in the second inning.

Camels pitcher Zach Franzen didn’t have an easy day either, lasting just 1.2 innings after walking five and striking out two.
Max Lause came on in relief with a 3.29 ERA. Lause finished the game with two strikeouts on 52 pitches, allowing four hits and walking one.

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“Max Lause did a great job. Zach had a hard time adjusting to the zone and Max comes in with one pitch and gets out of that inning and keeps it at bay from there on out. I’m proud of what Max did.” Schweitzer said.

Campbell County took the lead back for good in the bottom of the third, Brayden Wells stealing second, third, and later scoring on a Carson Clark fielder’s choice for a 3-2 lead.

Aydan Hamilton broke the ice in the fourth with the Camels first hit of the night.

“With that hit I knew it was a breaking point. RJ, he’s a great pitcher, had some good stuff. I just felt like that hit up the middle just broke open the game. Ever since that, I felt like he continued to get more wild and guys were being patient at the plate, letting four pitches turn into four balls.” Hamilton said.

The Camels were held in check in the fourth, Johnson continuing until the fifth inning when coach Josh Earlywine sent in Brayson Ring. It just turned out to be an unlucky tonight all around for Nicholas County. Ring couldn’t find the momentum, walking four, and allowing four runs.

As the Camels went through their entire lineup in the inning, Oscar Saucedo tried stop the
bleeding for Ring, but four more runs were scored on Saucedo as he walked five total batters.

Though most of the scoring for Campbell came off walks, Brady Kramer hit a two-run single, making it 8-2.

The doors continued to blow open in the sixth. Four more Camels walked before the fourth Bluejacket pitcher, Chandler Kenney gave a shot. Unfortunately for Kenney, he allowed the longest hit, and the final hit of the night. Evan Clark hit a ball off the fence that scored the final three runs, ending the game in six innings.

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“We just have to be patient. We knew the umpire tonight. He had a very small zone. It was both ways. Both coaches as we seen weren’t happy with the calls because of how small it was, but you learn from it. You have to learn to be patient and let it come to you.” Hamilton said.

The Camels have a chance to get back to their fourth straight region title game as they take on Montgomery County in the semifinals Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. The Indians were down to their final out trailing 6-5 to Bracken County, but an error by the Polar Bears on a dropped ball on a flyout allowed two Indians to score for the victory.

It’s a rematch of last year’s semifinals, a 7-3 Camels victory.

“We’re going to face a really good one tomorrow in (Matthew) Rowlett. I think he’s 9-0. They saved him back and we have our work cut out. This isn’t our first time, this isn’t our first rodeo and I know our guys will be ready to go when it counts,” Schweitzer said.

NICHOLAS COUNTY – 020 – 000 – x 2 – 6 – 0
CAMPBELL COUNTY – 201 – 054 – x 12 – 3 – 0

2B: (CC) E. Clark, (NC) Hatton, Ring
WP – Lause. LP – Johnson.

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