The Campbell County Camels baseball team (21-10) knew it could not have been any tougher of a draw facing the tradition-rich host Harrison County (25-9) and legendary Head Coach Mac Whitaker on the Thorobreds’ home field.
Campbell County senior designated hitter Zack Riley stepped to the plate with the Camels trailing 4-3 with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Senior shortstop Jake Gross had just singled off Harrison County starting pitcher Corey Vaughn (5-3).
Vaughn got ahead 0-2 putting the Thorobreds on the verge of ending the Campbell County season. But Riley took a ball on the next pitch then came up huge silencing the home crowd with a two-run blast to left center field to lift the Camels to a 5-4 win in the 10th Region Quarterfinals. That marked Riley’s third home run of the season.
“My main goal was to go up there and just put the ball in play,” Riley said. “It was like, ‘Just don’t strike out to end the season.’ Finally, that fourth pitch came. It was perfect. I hit the ball. The ball just floated right out. It was beautiful.”
Campbell County batted just .222 (6 for 27) off Vaughn. Senior center fielder Greg Vineyard scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning and freshman pinch runner Carson Clark scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the second to give the Camels a 2-1 lead.
“Anytime you match up with Coach Whitaker, you’re in for a dogfight,” said Scott Schweitzer, Campbell County Head Coach. “They’re well-coached. The guy’s won over 1,000 games. He’s a legend. When you play at his place, it’s even more difficult. It’s a packed house atmosphere – all the cars parked on the hill, the honking of the horns and everything that goes on with their games. Our guys were resilient. We played a little bit sloppy early on. But so did they. We were able to pull it off.”
But the Thorobreds fought back to take a 4-2 lead in the top of the fourth. Campbell County cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Vineyard walked with one out nad moved to third when junior third baseman Evan Clark singled to center. Vineyard then scored again on a wild pitch.
“(Vaugh) threw strikes with all three pitches,” Schweitzer said. “He threw change-ups. He threw curve balls. He attacked the zone. As the game moved on, he actually managed to locate better, keep the ball down and do a good job. He mixed it up well and kept us off-balance.”
Harrison County had four errors to two for Campbell County. The Camels scored two unearned runs to none for the Thorobreds.
Senior Jake Napier pitched the first four innings for Campbell County. He struck out five, walked one and allowed seven hits and four earned runs. Junior Max Lause (5-3) pitched the last three innings allowing just three hits.
Campbell County moved on to the region semifinals for the fourth straight year not counting the 2020 season wiped out because of the Cornavirus 2019 pandemic. The Camels take on the Montgomery County Indians (19-12) at 8 p.m. Wednesday back at Harrison County.
Campbell County won the region crown last year. The Camels lost 10-5 to Lexington Lafayette in the first round of the state tournament last year.
8th Region Quarterfinals:
Walton-Verona 8, Owen County 3:
The Bearcats (22-9-1) hit the road and came home with a convincing win against the 31st District champion Rebels (15-15). Walton-Verona won both meetings against the host Owen County this year.
Walton-Verona scored four runs in the top of the first then added three more in the top of the third to go up 7-0. Sophomore left fielder hit a two-run home run in the top of the third.
“We talked before the game about how we wanted to jump on them early,” said Clint Coleman, Walton-Verona Head Coach. “We hoped to get more. But their relief pitcher came in and did a good job.”
The Bearcats batted .233 (7 for 30) overall. Dixon led the way going 2 for 3 with three RBI and one run scored. Junior catcher Ethan Hager added a double.
Sophomore Mason Howard (4-3) pitched a complete game for Walton-Verona. He struck out eight, walked three and allowed just four hits and three earned runs. The Bearcats had one error behind him and scored one unearned run off three Rebel errors.
The Bearcats advanced to the 8th Region semifinals at the University of Louisville on Friday at 6 p.m. They take on the 29th District champion North Oldham Mustangs (27-7).
33rd District Championship Game at Boone County:
Ryle 5, Cooper 3 (11 innings):
Darkness started to ascend upon Florence in a game that unsurprisingly entered into extra innings in another battle in the rugged 33rd District.
Ryle loaded the bases when junior second baseman Aaliyah Kaseke drew a hit by pitch with two out in the top of the 11th. That brought up the hottest hitter for the Lady Raiders (18-14) in junior shortstop Avery Parsons. Parsons hit a double to right scoring junior third baseman Payton Godfrey and junior Lerin Moreland to make the final score.
“I am super proud of my team,” said Jarret Goddard, Ryle Head Coach. “The girls battled through a few mental mistakes. But they battled the entire game. (Parsons’) bat is on fire and I hope it continues. She’s an excellent ball player.”
This marked the first district championship for Ryle since 2018, which marked the last time the Lady Raiders won the 9th Region Tournament. Cooper is still in search of the first 33rd District Tournament title for softball in school history. But the Lady Jaguars will still go to the 9th Region Tournament for just the second time in school history.
Ryle sophomore pitcher Maddie Goddard (13-8) then worked out of trouble in the bottom of the inning. Senior center fielder Amber Chaney led off with a single and sophomore second baseman Ava Scott doubled her to third for Cooper (24-10). But Maddie Goddard coaxed Cooper senior shortstop Dylan Scott into popping out to junior Grace Tranbargar at first.
Ryle intentionally walked Cooper junior first baseman Emily Schmeltz to load the bases. Cooper junior pitcher Kendall Blau grounded into a fielder’s choice on a bunt. Ryle freshman catcher Laney Schuster grabbed the ball and tagged home plate forcing Chaney. Goddard then struck out Cooper junior third baseman Ashley Chaney to end the game.
Cooper tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when Amber Chaney tripled with one out and scored when Ava Scott reached second on a Ryle error in the outfield. But Dylan Scott lined out and after an intentional walk to Schmeltz, Maddie Goddard struck out Blau to send the game to extra innings.
The Lady Jaguars did put the game-winning run at third with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Ava Scott singled with one out and moved to second on a Ryle error. Dylan Scott then singled her to third. Schmeltz hit a ground ball and Ava Scott tried to score. But Parsons threw home to Schuster to cut her down. Dylan Scott made it to third on the play at Schmeltz to second. But Maddie Goddard got Blau to pop out to end the threat.
“Every single person in their line-up is capable of hitting the long ball and doing damage,” Coach Goddard said. “It’s one of those teams that you can’t sit back on any of them. Every time the top came up, it was a critical phase of the game. But we had a strategy on some of their plays we were trying to work through and see what we could do.”
Maddie Goddard and Blau both pitched complete games. Maddie Goddard struck out six, walked five and allowed just one earned run on 155 pitches. Blau struck out nine, walked three and allowed five earned runs on 178 pitches. Ryle had four errors to none for Cooper.
“Eleven innings is a lot to pitch. I know I was getting tired. But I knew it was still tied and I had to really push myself,” Maddie Goddard said. “I had to make sure everyone was relaxed and played. No matter what, I was going to be there for my team in the end.”
Ryle batted .286 (12 for 42) overall. Parsons led the way going 4 for 6 with a home run, double, three RBI and one run scored. Morgan went 2 for 6 with two RBI and one run scored. Maddie Goddard went 2 for 4 with Moreland going 2 for 4 with two runs scored.
“We talked before this game about leaving it all on the field. I think we were prepared, were playing loose and having fun,” Morgan said. “We just played softball like we know how to play. We really came together at the right moments.”
Cooper batted .239 (11 for 46) overall. Amber Chaney went 3 for 6 with a triple and run scored. Ava Scott went 3 for 6 with two doubles and a run scored with Dylan Scott going 2 for 5 with a triple and run scored. Eighth grade right fielder Ainsley Scroggie went 2 for 5 and Schmeltz added a double.
Ryle will take on Newport Central Catholic, Beechwood, Dixie Heights or Villa Madonna in the 9th Region quarterfinals. Cooper will face Highlands, Notre Dame, Dixie Heights or Villa Madonna.
37th District Championship Game at Campbell County:
Campbell County 11, Bishop Brossart 2:
The Camels (16-10) won their fifth consecutive district championship knocking off the visiting Lady ‘Stangs (12-17). This one turned out to be not as close as the 23-18 Camel win during the regular season on May 12.
Bishop Brossart led 2-0 entering the bottom of the fourth. But Campbell County scored four runs in the fourth and fifth never looking back. Seventh grade second baseman Josie Feebeck hit a three-run inside the park home run to put the Camels ahead in the fourth inning.
“We have so many young kids on this team that really don’t know what five district titles in a row can mean,” said Sandi Kitchen, Campbell County Head Coach. “They were just biding their time while they were in there. Josie Feebeck coming up with that hit put everything in perspective. They girls were like, ‘Hey. We can do this.’ It was not an easy thing coming out of the first couple innings for sure.”
Campbell County batted .393 (11 for 28) overall. Junior Paige Stewart led the Camels going 3 for 3 with one RBI and two runs scored. Junior first baseman Emily Nadeau went 2 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored with senior center fielder Bella Bastin going 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Junior catcher Izzy Whisman drove in two.
“I definitely feel watching (Bishop Brossart junior pitcher Morgan Kramer) pitch (Monday) was essential for our team to be ready,” Nadeau said. “Our coaches let us stay and watch after our game. We noticed the started pitching a lot outside. We started off a little bit rough. But as we started coming through, we kept our confidence up and we started to drive the outside ball. I felt like we weren’t trying to hit home runs every pitch. We were just trying to get on base. We strung hits together.”
Stewart (11-4) pitched the first five innings for Campbell County to earn the win striking out one and walking four. Junior Alex Leicht pitched the last two innings striking out two and walking just one.
“Paige walked a couple girls. She wasn’t hitting her spots,” Kitchen said. “We just didn’t come out of the gate strong. Hitting-wise, I felt we were a little lackadaisical. We were hitting bad pitches. From (Feebeck’s) home run, we relaxed at the plate and were more selective and not pressing.”
Bishop Brossart batted .240 (6 for 25) overall. Junior center fielder Brooke Shewmaker led the way going 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
Campbell County will play St. Patrick, Harrison County or George Rogers Clark in the 10th Region quarterfinals. Bishop Brossart will face Bracken County, Pendleton County or Montgomery County. The drawing takes place Thursday.
36th District Championship Game at Newport Veterans Field:
Highlands 6, Newport Central Catholic 0:
The Bluebirds (23-14) won a fourth straight district tournament championship pulling away from the Thoroughbreds (10-10) when senior shortstop Anna Greenwell blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth.
That marked the fifth home run of the year for Greenwell. She went 2 for 3 with a double and also scored twice.
“We didn’t adjust real well to the speed of the pitcher in the beginning,” said Milt Horner, Highlands Head Coach. “We hit some hard in the first three innings. But we hit them right at somebody. We finally broke through in the fourth.”
Highlands batted .375 (9 for 24) overall. Junior pitcher Kennedy Baioni went 2 for 3 with an RBI and eighth grade second baseman Morgan Pompilio went 2 for 4 with two runs scored.
Baioni (10-8) pitched a complete game striking out 12, walking one and allowing just one hit. Highlands made one error behind her to two for NewCath.
“Kennedy pitched really well, which helped our defense,” Pompilio said. “When balls were in play, we made the outs. At the Highlands home field (Winkler Field), the dirt is really good. The dirt was really soft (at Newport Vets Field). Everyone knew we had to charge (balls) quick.”
Highlands will take on Beechwood, Cooper, Dixie Heights or Villa Madonna in the region quarterfinals. NewCath will take on Notre Dame, Ryle, Dixie Heights or Villa Madonna.
35th District Championship at Beechwood:
Notre Dame 9, Beechwood 0:
The Pandas (13-10) shut out the host Tigers (15-17) for another district championship.
Senior Cam Steinbrunner (5-6) pitched a complete game striking out 10, walking three and allowing just one hit. The Pandas had one error behind her.
Notre Dame batted .344 (11 for 32) overall. Senior shortstop Addison Mack led the way going 3 for 4 with a double, RBI and scored twice. Freshman second baseman Ava Auberger went 2 for 4 with a double, one RBI and scored twice. Junior catcher Rachel Finke went 2 for 3 with a double, RBI and scored once.
The Pandas tallied five extra-base hits. Junior left fielder Tori Danneman doubled and scored a run and senior third baseman Morgan Huston homered driving in two and scoring once.
Notre Dame will take on NewCath, Cooper, Dixie Heights or Villa Madonna in the region quarterfinals. Beechwood will play Highlands, Ryle, Dixie Heights or Villa Madonna.
34th District Semifinals at Villa Madonna:
Dixie Heights 15, Lloyd Memorial 0 (3 innings):
The Colonels (20-6) made quick work of the Juggernauts (3-19-1) moving back into the district championship and 9th Region Tournament.
Sophomore Riley Hopkins (16-6) pitched the complete game striking out four, walking none and allowing one hit. Dixie Heights again played error-free defense behind her and Hopkins went 3 for 3 at the plate. Hopkins threw 28 pitches with 23 strikes.
Dixie Heights batted .462 (6 for 13) overall taking advantage of 11 walks. Sophomore right fielder Carly Waters went 2 for 3 with a double, four RBI and scored one run. Senior third baseman Ava Meyer drew three walks and scored twice with sophomore center fielder Taylor Ingram walking three times and scoring three times.
Eighth grade designated hitter Sydney Schumacher also walked three times and scored once for Dixie Heights. Sophomore first baseman Skylar Mitchell also scored two runs.
Dixie Heights will face the host Vikings (19-9) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Villa Madonna downed St. Henry, 10-7 in the second semifinal game.
8th Region Quarterfinals:
Oldham County 10, Simon Kenton 0 (5 innings):
The Lady Pioneers (15-14) saw their season end on the road.
Simon Kenton batted .263 (5 for 19) overall. But the Lady Pioneers could not string any together to score off Oldham County senior pitcher Mak Grimes (21-7). No one had more than one hit for the Lady Pioneers.
Simon Kenton sophomore Landrey Dance (8-11) pitched another complete game striking out four and walking three. Four Lady Pioneer errors led to seven unearned runs for the Lady Colonels.