The Campbell County Camels had been to the 10th Region Title game three years in a row entering the semifinal game against the 40th District champion Montgomery County Indians not counting the 2020 season wiped out by the pandemic.
The Camels (22-10) made it four straight and five of the past six seasons with a 7-3 win over the Indians (19-13) at Harrison County’s Mac Whitaker Field. Campbell County will take on the 40th District runner-up George Rogers Clark Cardinals (21-13) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the title game.
Freshman Zach Franzen (4-0) pitched the first five innings to earn the win for the Camels. He struck out eight, walked six and allowed just one earned run. Junior Braden Kramer pitched the last two innings to finish the game. He struck out two, walked one and allowed no earned runs. The two held Montgomery to just a .071 (2 for 28) batting average.
The Camels batted .267 (8 for 30) overall. Senior left fielder Caeleb James led the way going 2 for 3 with a solo home run, two runs batted in and two runs scored. Senior second baseman Tyler Fowler, senior center fielder Greg Vineyard, junior shortstop Jake Gross and junior Brayden Wells had doubles.
“I think we came out flat,” said Scott Schweitzer, Campbell County Head Coach. “We had to sit quite a bit. There was a rain delay of about 40 minutes in the first game so we didn’t get our first pitch until about 9:05 p.m. In the fourth inning, we broke through in the fourth and put it together. To do what Zach (Franzen) did as a 15-year-old freshman is huge.”
Campbell County did finish with six errors to one for Montgomery County. But the Camels still scored three unearned runs and limited the Indians to two.
Montgomery County took its own lead at 1-0 in the bottom of the third. Senior center fielder Meier Patrick scored when junior shortstop Davis Johnson grounded out.
“They didn’t hit a ball that legitimately got to the infield dirt,” Schweitzer said. “They were in no man’s land. We tried to make a play on one that was a hit. We threw it down the right field line, should have ate it. But we were fortunate enough the errors didn’t kill us. When we make the pitches and we make the plays after the first error, that’s huge. Anytime you kill a snowball before it gets too huge, it’s key.”
Campbell County struggled the first time through the line-up against Montgomery County junior pitcher Matt Rowlett (2-5). But with two out in the top of the fourth, Gross doubled and scored when senior designated hitter Zack Riley reached on an Indian error. Senior second baseman Tyler Fowler then doubled in Riley to put the Camels up for good at 2-1. Senior first baseman Jake Napier then singled in Fowler to put Campbell County up 3-1.
“We just really focused in on trying to get on base any way possible,” Gross said. “(Rowlett) was hitting his spots really well. He threw a good amount of fastballs. His off-speed was also really good at the beginning of the game.”
The Indians put a runner on third in the bottom of the fourth when sophomore second baseman Spencer Butcher reached second on an error then moved to third on a ground out. With one out, sophomore Sam Cooper tried to lay down a squeeze bunt. But the Camels nailed Butcher at home.
“(Cooper) bunted through it,” Schweitzer said. “(Campbell County sophomore catcher) Parker (Schweitzer) just stepped up and tagged (Butcher) out. It was easy. He didn’t even try to slide or anything. He just took the out.”
The Camels added to the lead in the top of the fifth. James hit his second home run of the season to put Campbell County up 4-1.
But the Indians chipped away scoring unearned runs in each of the next two innings to trim the lead to 4-3. Franzen got Montgomery County junior right fielder Jack Blackburn to fly out to Campbell County junior Brayden Wells in right field with the bases loaded. Then in the bottom of the sixth, Kramer struck out Montgomery County junior designated hitter Jarrett Stidham with runners on first and second.
“I saw what Zach (Franzen) did in the beginning,” Kramer said. “None of that would have happened if he didn’t throw like he did. I just tried to throw strikes and keep it going. None of us were worried. We were all calm and we knew what we were doing. Both of us hit our spots. The (strike) zone changed (some). But we worked with it and threw off-speed to keep them off-balance.”
The Camels mounted a rally with two out in the bottom of the seventh. Wells doubled and James singled him home to put Campbell County up 5-3. Vineyard then doubled to right scoring James before junior third baseman Evan Clark singled to score Vineyard making the final score.
“It felt good to get those (insurance runs),” James said. “I wasn’t comfortable with just having that one-run lead. I knew when I came back up I had to get that two-out rally going. It secured the win. We did well having each others’ backs.”
The Camels made two more errors in the bottom of the seventh. But they still recorded a force out at second on the second one for the second out of the inning. Montgomery County junior third baseman Alex Hatton popped out to Gross to end the game.
Campbell County won region crowns last year, 2018 and 2016. The Camels finished state runner-up in 2016 losing 1-0 to Louisville St. Xavier in the state championship game.
34th District Championship at Villa Madonna:
Dixie Heights 11, Villa Madonna 0 (5 innings):
The Colonels (21-6) won their third straight district championship not counting the 2020 season wiped out by the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic. They scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth to pull away from the host Vikings (19-10).
Dixie Heights sophomore Riley Hopkins (17-6) pitched a complete game and the Colonels put together an error-free game behind her. Hopkins struck out seven and walked one throwing 69 pitches with 51 strikes. Dixie Heights scored six unearned runs off five Villa Madonna errors.
Dixie Heights batted .333 (8 for 24) overall. Senior second baseman Bri Patsel led the way going 3 for 3 with a double, three RBI and scored once. Junior shortstop Ella Steczynski went 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Sophomore center fielder Taylor Ingram scored twice.
The Colonels stole six bases in the win. Patsel and Steczynski stole two each.
Villa Madonna batted .167 (3 for 18) overall. Seventh grade first baseman Cam Kratzer went 2 for 2 and stole one base.
Both teams advance to the 9th Region Tournament. Dixie Heights will play host to Cooper, Newport Central Catholic or Beechwood on Sunday in the region quarterfinals. Villa Madonna will travel to Highlands, Ryle or Notre Dame.
Track and Field:
Class 2A, Region 4 Meet at Scott:
Highlands Boys Capture Title:
The Highlands boys won the meet scoring 167 points and the girls finished second scoring 119. Bourbon County won the girls race with 164 points.
“Our team did well,” said Brian Alessandro, Highlands girls track and field head coach. “We’re just missing a couple pieces in distance. Some of our girls are young and we just need a couple years. But we’re getting there. We had a number of good performances.”
Highlands senior Jake Welch led the boys scoring 32.5 points winning three events then taking part in a first-place relay. Welch won the 100 meter dash in 11.01 seconds, the 200 in 2206 and the 400 in 50.08 seconds.
Welch also ran as part of the first-place mile relay team that won in three minutes, 30.23 seconds. The other three runners were Ben Hack, Thomas Gray-Torsell and Alex Lacourt. Welch spent months in recovery from a foot injury he suffered during football season.
“It paid off a lot,” Welch said. “During the road to recovery, it’s about keeping your head down and grinding. Don’t look too far into the future. Focus on the now. It’s about the natural abilities, staying relaxed and having good form. Then it’s about putting all those hours of practice into those short little races.”
Highlands senior Isaac Surrey scored some points. Surrey finished second in the high jump at 5-10. He also took third in both the long jump at 19-7 and in the triple jump in 40-5.5.
Junior Aiden Nevels won the 110 hurdles in 15.97 seconds. Nevels took second in the 300 hurdles in 41.63.
Gray-Torsell won the 800 in 2:00.07. Senior Will White took fourth in 2:04.40.
Highlands sophomore Malcolm Robertson won the two-mile with a personal record 10:04.89. Sophomore Alexander Robertson took fourth in 11:05.32.
Sophomore Rilen Pinkston took second in the pole vault in 12 feet even for Highlands. Fellow sophomore Myles Harris took fourth at 10 feet even.
The Highlands two-mile relay team won in 8:27.32. The runners were Gray-Torsell, Lacourt, Will White and Sam Jones. Lacourt took fourth in the 400 dash in 53.27 seconds.
Holmes won the 800 relay in 1:31.76 and the 400 relay in 44.31 seconds. The runners were sophomore Robert Cameron, David Commodore, Curtez Hill and Mayne White.
Two other area runners placed in the 100 dash. Cameron took third in 11.6 and Highlands senior Jake Dedeker took fourth in 11.61. Dedeker also took fourth in the 200 dash in 23 seconds even.
Dedeker also helped the 800 relay team to a second-place finish in 1:33.63. The other runners were Nevels, Matteo Matteoli and sophomore Nate Welch. The same four helped the 400 relay team toa second-place finish in 44.85 seconds.
Jones and sophomore Ezra McKenzie took third and fourth in the mile run in 4:48.49 and 4:48.83. Both are personal records.
The big surprise for the Highlands girls came with junior Haley Zell. In her first varsity meet with the triple jump, she placed a top 25 jump in the state at 35-1.25 to win the meet. Zell also placed second in the long jump at 16-3.25. Zell also placed third in the 100 dash in 12.78 seconds.
“I’ve been practicing for about a month with Tiger (Highlands assistant coach Keith Thompson),” Zell said. “He’s helped me tremendously with learning how to triple jump and learning the correct form. I’ve been working and lifting a lot too so that me jump as far as I did.”
Zell also helped the 800 relay team to a third-place finish in 1:48.78. Sophomore Laney Smith, senior Faith Broering and Sarah Thurnauer were the other three runners. Laney Smith, Broering, Kate Jamie and Kate Fausz helped Highlands to a third place finish in the mile relay in 4:13.18.
Broering and Thurnauer helped the Highlands 400 relay team to a second-place finish. The other runners were Emmie Brewer and Ava Gwisdalla.
Highlands senior Jade Rehberger won the 100 hurdles in 17.32 seconds. Freshman Kendall Graves ran a personal record 18.29 seconds to place fourth. Rehberger also took second in the 300 hurdles in 51.08.
Highlands sophomore Kate Jamie finished second in the 400 dash in 1:00.13.
Highlands junior Rylee Swope finished second in the shot put for the girls throwing 32 feet, 6.75 inches. Senior Gracie Schlosser, a former softball player, fired a personal record of 27-7.25 to finish fourth.
Highlands saw two pole vaulters place in the top four with personal records. Senior Mckenna Pinkston finished third at 7-6 and sophomore Sophia Scherrer took fourth at seven feet even.
The Highlands two-mile relay team in Jamie, Franny Smith, Avery Barber and Ava Meyer finished second in 10:04.8. The Scott team of Dyllan Hasler, Maddie Strong, Allison Clemons and Ansley Lindloff took third in 10:14.82.
The Scott girls captured two event wins. Junior Autumn Ponder won the high jump with a personal record of 4-8. Sophomore Maddie Strong won the two-mile race in 11:42.7 and Highlands senior Eden Brumer took fourth in 12:36.77.
The Scott 400 relay team placed fourth in 54.04 seconds. The runners were Ponder, Josie Puthoff, Olivia Burgan and Lacey Klare. Puthoff placed fourth in the 300 hurdles in 56.49.
Holmes saw junior Antaya Epps place fourth in the 100 dash in 12.93 seconds.
The Class 2A State Meet takes place Friday, June 2 starting at 9 a.m. at the University of Kentucky.
Class 3A, Region 5 Meet at Ryle:
CovCath Boys, Dixie Heights Girls Win Race:
CovCath scored 143 to win the boys race and Dixie Heights scored 121 to win the girls race. Ryle finished second in both the boys with 133.5 points and the girls with 110 points.
Simon Kenton senior Joseph Vormbrock won the boys shot put in 46-10.75. Campbell County sophomore Hunter Wiseman won the discus in 143 even.
Ryle sophomore Benjamin Coker won the long jump at 21 feet even for the boys. He also took the triple jump in 40-10 and the high jump in 5-10.
Campbell County senior Jenna Gies won the long jump for the girls in 15-10. She also took third in the triple jump at 32-2. Notre Dame senior Natalie Bain won the triple jump in 35-2.5 and took third in the long jump in 15-5.5.
Simon Kenton sophomore Savannah Seiler won the girls high jump at 4-8. Campbell County sophomore Abigale Bauer won the girls pole vault at 9-feet even. Simon Kenton senior Greysen Gerth won the boys pole vault at 12-6.
The Ryle girls won the two-mile relay in 9:44.33. Team members are Yasmin Garcia, Angelina Harris, Renae Kopser and Allison Kopser.
The Conner boys won the two-mile relay in 8:01 even. Team members are Ryan Hanak, Joseph Impellitteri, Drew Moore and George Johnson.
Ryle senior Madison Rabe won the 100 hurdles in 15.69 seconds for the girls and 300 hurdles in 45.62. Simon Kenton senior Xander Ritter won the 110 hurdles in 14.63 seconds for the boys and the 300 in 40.72.
Conner sophomore Isabella Vohlehman won the 100 dash in 12.45 seconds on the girls side. Covington Catholic senior Reid Hummel won the 100 dash on the boys side in 11.09 seconds.
Hummel also helped the 400 relay in 44.14 seconds. Teammates were Seth Gruner, Zion Mason and Ty Rottinghaus.
The Dixie Heights girls won the 800 relay in 1:47.8. Team members were Jada Calhoun, Jordan Faulkner, Veronica Orr and Kaylee Ollberding. Calhoun, Faulkner, Ollberding and Jayden Profitt also helped the Dixie Heights 400 relay win in 51.31 seconds. Orr, Harper Allen, Emily Bruns and Abigail Kopp helped the Dixie Heights girls win the mile relay in 4:05.21.
The Campbell County boys won the 800 relay in 1:32.33. Team members are Trenen Lowther, Connor Gunn, Kameron Vickers and Elliott Warner.
Campbell County freshman Olivia Holbrook won the girls mile in 5:09.46 and the 800 in 2:21.86. Conner senior Joseph Impellitteri won the boys mile in 4:26.98.
CovCath senior Will Sheets won the boys two-mile in 9:35.24 and the two-mile in 9:35.24. Cooper senior Joshua Stepner won the boys 800 in 1:59.09.
Dixie Heights junior Abigail Klopp won the girls 400 dash in 59.53 seconds. Cooper junior Austin Liversgowdy won the boys 400 in 50.94 seconds. Liversgowdy, Joshua Stepner, Elijah Harrison and Preston and Winiger won the boys mile relay in 3:29.88.
Conner sophomore Isabella Vonlehman won the girls 200 dash in 25.88 seconds. Campbell County Elliott Warner won the boys 200 in 23.12 seconds.
The Class 2A State Meet takes place Saturday, June 3 starting at 9 a.m. at the University of Kentucky.