TAYLOR MILL, Ky. — Campbell County senior Rob Franzen pitched a complete game, throwing 136 pitches and striking out 12 to help propel the Camels into the 10th Region finals by beating Bourbon County, 7-4, Tuesday night at Scott High School.
Franzen struck out two batters an inning in all but the sixth — when he cruised through with only nine pitches — despite a half-hour delay when the lights went out in the stadium.
The blackout came in the midst of a three-run rally for the Camels, who had started the fifth inning down, 4-2.
After senior Tyler Walsh lead off with a triple to deep center field, fellow senior Griffis Paul hit a bloop single up the middle to tie the score at four. Avery Wood, up next, struck out before things went dark.
When play resumed 30 minutes later, junior catcher Joe Kremer singled to move the runner to third, then Franzen was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. John Elbin then laced Kaven Brown’s 2-2 offering to the warning track in right center field to plate two more runs and break the game open.
“I was sitting on a fastball outside, and I got one,” said Elbin, a sophomore. “I was able to really extend on it and got good contact. I thought ‘that’s gone,’ and just kept running.”
Franzen, who had surrendered a lead in Bourbon County’s three-run fourth, returned to the mound after the delay focused. He allowed just three hits the rest of the way and kept the Colonels from eating into the Camels lead.
“All I did (during the delay) was try to keep focused and keep my arm warm. I felt pretty confident. This was what I worked all winter for,” Franzen said.
After the sixth, in which Franzen gave up a leadoff single, picked the runner off first and induced to grounders to make short work of the Bourbon rally, his pitch count was already well over 100.
There was little doubt he would come out in the seventh to try to seal the win and his fourth complete game of the season, said Campbell coach Stephen Schweitzer.
“He came off the mound after the sixth and just patted his chest and said ‘this one is mine.’ He threw more pitches than I would like him to have, but he’s a senior and he wanted it,” Schweitzer said. “He’s worked hard, paced himself all year for this moment.
Campbell took an early lead in the game, drawing a pair of walks and a Avery Wood bloop single to set up a Franzen sacrifice fly in the first inning to make it 1-0. The Colonels rallied in the second, tying the score on a Nick Wheeler double with one out.
The Camels went up a run again in the fourth when Robert Metz hit a grounder to third and the throw from third baseman Tyler Bretz pulled Cody Miles off the bag at first as the runner scampered home.
Bretz made up for his error in the bottom of the inning, legging out an infield single to lead off. David Baker then doubled, and Miles followed with a one-out single that scored two runs on an errant throw home. Cameron Whitaker plated another run two batters later with a double down the left field line.
That set the stage for the blackout and the Camels’ three-run rally in the fifth. They would add two more runs in the sixth inning, chasing Brown. He went five innings, allowing six runs and suffering only his second loss of the season.
The Camels will face perennial power Harrison County (23-7) in Wednesday regional final, and the Thorobreds’ ace, Jordan Martin. Harrison County lost in last year’s regional final to Brossart, but will be looking to add its 20th regional title in the program’s history. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
CAMPBELL 100-132-0—7 10 0
BOURBON 010-300-0—4 11 2
WP: Franzen (6-4, 12 K’s). LP: Brown (10-2). HITTING LEADERS: CC—Walsh 3-4, 2B, 3B; Eblin 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI. BC—Mohr 2B; Baker 2-3, 2B; Miles 2 RBI; Wheeler 2B. RECORDS: Campbell County 19-16, Bourbon County 24-12.
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