After being walked 20 times for a state record in the 10th Region quarterfinal win against Nicholas County, Campbell County used their defense to stave off Montgomery County 5-4 in the region semifinals Wednesday night at Harrison County.
Going in, all parties knew it would be a premier matchup. Montgomery County saved their ace Matthew Rowlett for this matchup, which almost cost the Indians their first-round win against Bracken County.
Rowlett had been stellar all season. In 62 innings pitched, the senior led the state with a 0.23 ERA and a 9-0 record.
But the Camels jumped on him early.
In the first frame of action, the Camels exploited the struggles from Rowlett, taking an early 3-0 lead, Evan Clark’s two-run double doing most of the damage.
The Indians fought back with a run in the top of the second.
From then on it was a battle between Rowlett and Camels freshman Tyler Schumacher.
“It feels awesome. I knew I had to continue to throw strikes and just keep the game going,” Schumacher said.
Montgomery added a run in the fourth, Schumacher paving way for Jake Gross in the sixth after allowing the tying run to score, making it 3-3. Schumacher lasted 5.1 innings, moving to second base for a vital out in the frame to keep things tied.
“Tyler Schumacher had a hell of a play in the sixth inning, diving up the middle after he comes out from throwing 100 pitches. You can’t ask for more out of a freshman. That’s just impressive,” Camels coach Scott Schweitzer said.
The two-time reigning champs answered in the bottom half. As Rowlett got tired, Campbell took advantage. A single by Jake Gross and then a double by Aydan Hamilton put Camels on second and third. Clark drove gross in on a groundout, Brady Kramer driving Hamilton in on a fielder’s choice to make it 5-3.
“We were able to put some good at-bats together. We get second and third and we’re able to scratch the runs across,” said Schweitzer.
It was Gross’ turn to slam the door in the seventh. It didn’t come easy though.
A one-out single by Brodie Shaw gave the Indians life. Jarrett Stidham was then hit by a pitch, Jack Blackburn followed with a an RBI double, but pinch-runner Stryker Davidson was gunned down out at home by outfielder Carson Clark on a relay to shortstop Aydan Hamilton trying to score from first for out No. 2. Relays loomed large for the Camels.
Gunner Reed stepped in the batter’s box and delivered a single getting Blackburn to third, but on the relay Reed tried to advance to second and was tagged out there, ending the game.
“We bend, but don’t break,” Schweitzer said. “We had a great relay from the ball in right center. We hit Aydan in the middle, and he throws a strike to Parker, we get a tag out. To finish we got guys where they’re supposed to be. I’m proud of where we got defensively. Defense kept us in the game.”
It marks the fifth straight 10th Region title game for the Camels despite being outhit 13-4 by the Indians.
“We hit just enough and we played just good enough defense to get another win. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. We capitalized when had to and we survived and advanced,” Schweitzer said.
Campbell County faces Harrison County, an 11-4 semifinal winner over Mason County on Wednesday. Game time is 6:00 p.m. The Camels have defeated the Thorobreds in three straight region tournaments, including the championship in 2021 and last year’s semifinals.
“I don’t know how many regional championship appearances this is, but it’s getting to be fun. It’s going to be fun to come down here, play the home team, and see the crowd that will show up. I’m looking forward to it” Schweitzer said.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY – 010-101-1 — 4-13-2
CAMPBELL COUNTY – 300–002–x — 5-4-0
2B: (MC) Blackburn, Butcher (CC) E. Clark, Hamilton
WP – Gross. LP – Rowlett.
Records: Montgomery County 28-7, Campbell County 29-9