Campbell County baseball team routs Johnson Central in state open
LEXINGTON – Even with a record under .500 from 16-21, Johnson Center was one of 16 regional champions who came to the University of Kentucky this week for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association State Baseball Tournament.
The Golden Eagles, a 15th-region powerhouse year after year, had knocked out a top-20 team from Lawrence County to win the 15th-region tournament.
Campbell County did not intend to take his opponent lightly as the Camels faced the Golden Eagles in the first round of the tournament Friday night at Kentucky Proud Park.
Campbell defeated Johnson 14-2, with the game ending after five innings due to the KHSAA leniency rule. The Camels have scored in each of the first four innings.
The Camels (24-10) advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. at Kentucky Proud Park against McCracken County (34-6), who was ranked third in the state in the final coaches poll. Johnson Central finishes 16-22. McCracken beat Hazard 16-9 in Friday’s final quarter-final.
But first, the Camels had to stop an upset bid before it started.
“Johnson Central and Coach (Shawn) Hall, these guys are doing a great job,” Campbell County head coach Scott Schweitzer said. “He’s done this long-running, highly respected program. They know what they’re doing, they’ve been here before so it was huge to jump in early and stay on it. They’re a scary team to play, and to keep these guys on the gas, don’t look back. That’s what we did tonight.
The Camels hit 12 hits and took advantage of a few Golden Eagles defensive gaps in the top of the inning to build their lead.
Third baseman Evan Clark went 4 for 4 with three runs scored and two RBIs.
“We knew they were here for a reason,” Clark said. “They got hot at the right time, and we knew we couldn’t come out here flat. We had to go and we did. »
Jake Gross had two hits and four RBIs. Greg Vineyard had two hits, one RBI and three runs scored. Brayden Wells had two hits and scored two runs. Caeleb James drove in two and scored two.
Max Lause took advantage of the race support to claim his seventh win of the year and lower his 2.18 ERA at the finish.
Lause had pitched eight shutout innings in two games in the 10th Region tournament, including the 10th Region final to earn Most Valuable Player honors.
“Max usually attacks the zone,” Schweitzer said. “He was a little wilder than normal tonight, but (with the lead) it allows you to attack more with fast balls. It’s hot hand and it throws very well.
The Camels set the tone in the first round.
The Camels charged the bases without anyone after a first brace from Greg Vineyard and a single from Evan Clark. The Camels were helped by a defensive slip from starting pitcher Hunter Blevins, who pitched to second instead of home on a groundout to him with one out. All runners were safe and Campbell was leading 2-0.
Late in the first, with Conner Lemaster at first base, Johnson Central earned a two-out brace from Keygan Pelfrey. Campbell left fielder Caeleb James kicked out Pelfrey at third before Lemaster reached home plate, and it was 2-0.
In the second inning, the Camels had two outs and no one. Vineyard and Clark singles.
Gross threw a fly ball down the left field line that left fielder Matt Crum tried to dive. The ball hit Crum and fouled, and was ruled fair, giving Gross a two-run double. The ball could have landed foul had Crum not touched it.
Riley added an RBI single to put the Camels up, 5-0.
Campbell County led 9-0 after its third inning half. Vineyard drew a walk loaded with bases. Clark hit an RBI single and Gross hit a two-run single for his third and fourth RBI.
In the fourth, a two-run double from James and an RBI single from Clark for his fourth hit of the night made it 13-2 with two outs.
“It was really good,” Clark said. “It was rewarding, all the hard work this year. Coming here in the first round of the state tournament and going 4 for 4, really helping the team, felt good.
JC went to his fifth pitcher of the game. Tyler Fowler reached on an error with the bases loaded to lead 14-2.
The Camels will face a team from McCracken County that has a long history of long tournaments and was a state runner-up last year.
“If we play our game, we’ll have a chance,” Schweitzer said. “I will do my best to make sure they are ready to play their game.”