Camden wrapped up the Region 6-3A baseball championship with a come-from-behind 7-6 win over Lakewood on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Bulldogs trailed 6-0 but simply would not quit.
“I just can’t say enough about the resiliency of these kids,” said Bulldogs coach Denny Beckley. “We fell behind in our final two games with everything on the line, and they just never got down on themselves. It was a pretty stressful couple of day, but it sure turned out great.”
Lakewood roughed up Camden starter Tyler Pike in the early going, plating three runs in the first and second innings in the pennant showdown at Legion Field. Pike, however, settled down thereafter, allowing the visiting Gators just two hits over the final five innings.
But none of that would have matter had the Camden bats not gotten into the act. The reversal of fortunes began with a sole home run by Alvonta’ Jenkins in the bottom of the fourth inning, followed by a two-run burst in the fifth, courtesy of run-scoring hits by Jack LaFrage and Pike. The Bulldogs evened the score with three more runs in the sixth on a RBI single by Kris Nelson and a two-run hit by LaFrage. Trey Brazzell delivered the game-winner in the seventh – a bases-load single that plated DaVante’ Hayes with the pennant-clinching run.
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Camden fell into a 4-0 hole after one inning Friday night in Bennettsville, but exploded for three home runs and rolled to a 15-8 win over host Marlboro County. Pike’s two-run double got things in motion for Camden. Hayes, LaFrage and Jenkins then played a little long ball. Hayes had a two-run shot, while LaFrage and Jenkins chipped in with solo blasts.
The Bulldogs entered the final week of the region campaign in a virtual three-way tie for first place with Lakewood and Darlington. Camden started the sprint to the wire with a 12-1 conquest of Darlington, who had beaten the Bulldogs in the first meeting. Camden later avenged another prior region setback against MC. The Bulldogs finished with an 8-2 region report card.
Camden (16-7 overall) enters the Class 3A state playoffs as the No. 1 seed in District VI, and hosts Airport in a first-round game on Thursday.