By Dan Wright
TAYLOR MILL, Ky. – Campbell County reached the 10th Region tournament championship game for the first time since 2005, but some unfortunate bounces in the first inning resulted in the Camels getting bounced from the post-season, 1-0, against Harrison County Wednesday evening at Scott High School.
The Thorobreds, whose 21st regional title is their first since 2010, will await the 9th Region champion in next week’s state tournament.
With the pitchers’ duel most expected materializing between senior right-handers Jordan Martin, who won the state championship game as a freshman for those 2010 Thorobreds, and Tyler Walsh, who struck out 14 Harrison County batters in a 2-0 win 16 days earlier, both teams played their infields in when the other threatened in the first inning.
For Harrison County, it proved fruitful, as freshman second baseman Brandon Case cut down courtesy runner Gabe Kremer at the plate on Mitch Kremer’s grounder with one out and runners on second and third in the top of the first.
“We went on contact and the kid fielded it and made a good throw and he was out by a mile,” said Campbell County head coach Stephen Schweitzer. “We were trying to make something work. They did it against us yesterday, Bourbon did, and ended up scoring two runs off of it. And Martin, he’s a great pitcher. You never know when he’s going to turn it on and we were going on contact trying to get the first run across the board.”
Said Harrison County coach Mac Whitaker: “We really work on game-changer plays and we’ve worked on that and he (Case) knew how to handle it,” said Harrison County head coach Mac Whitaker.
For Campbell County it proved costly when in the bottom of the inning Martin bounced a single that glanced off the top of the glove of sophomore shortstop Josh Reynolds with one out and the infield in, bringing home sophomore catcher Robbie Stroub from third with the only run of the game.
“He was right there, it just hit off the tip of his glove,” said Schweitzer. “Baseball’s a game of inches and it just went the wrong way for us today.”
The Camels threatened again in the second when sophomore right fielder Cameron Edwards led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but it was the last time Campbell County would get a man in scoring position.
“We put guys on base,” said Schweitzer. “We just couldn’t figure out how to get the big hit.”
Harrison County head coach Mac Whitaker said Martin adjusted his approach after the first couple of innings, with Martin holding the Camels to two hits, a walk and an error over the final five innings. In addition, Martin picked two of those four base runners off first base.
“He’s had better stuff,” said Whitaker. “Halfway through the game we had to change from the curveball to the slider because they were on the curveball and that was the difference in the game. We forgot about that curveball and went to that off-speed slider and they couldn’t make the adjustment on that.”
Martin, who was coming off a perfect game in the 38th District championship game, surrendered just five hits and two walks while striking out five.
Walsh just about matched Martin, giving up just three hits while walking three batters and striking out nine.
Martin threw 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes while Walsh found the zone with 62 of his 94 pitches.
“He mowed. He located his fastball. After the first three hitters he located his fastball very well. He kind of just cruised on through,” said Schweitzer of Walsh. “But you have to take your hat off to Martin. He throws a complete game and gets the only RBI in the game. That’s a great performance by a senior.
CAMPBELL CO. 000-000-0—0 5 1
HARRISON CO. 100-000-x—1 3 1
WP: Martin (7-1). LP: Walsh (2-4, 9 K’s). HITTING LEADERS: CC–Wood 2B; Eblin 2-3. HC–Royce 2B. RECORDS: Harrison County 24-7, Campbell County 19-17.
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