Campbell County used a four-run fifth inning and a complete-game beauty from pitcher Alex Franzen to top Ohio County 5-1 and land a spot in Saturday’s quarterfinal round of the Rawlings/KHSAA State Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Franzen allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight batters. Of his 88 pitches, 64 were strikes. Friday’s win marked the ninth time this season he’s thrown a complete game in under 90 pitches.
“Alex was great tonight,” Campbell County Coach Stephen Schweitzer said. “He pounds the zone with three pitches, maybe four. He’s been our horse all year long.”
Franzen said he relishes pitching on a big stage.
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“I’m more of an adrenaline guy,” he said. “Its kind of hard to describe, but whenever it’s a clutch moment I try to play in the heat of the moment and I love it. It’s a lot of fun.”
The Camels jumped out to a lead with three hits in the first inning. Colton Hartig led off with a single to right field and moved to second on a single from Connor Walsh. Dawson Hogan followed with a shot down the first-base line that scored Hartig and gave Campbell County a 1-0 lead after one inning.
Joe Eblin blew the game open for the Camels in the third inning with a three-RBI double to center field.
“That was key,” Franzen said. “That’s how you break open the offense, that’s how you start everything.”
Ohio County manufactured a run in the fourth inning when Campbell County got a bit sloppy. Zach Gledhill led off the inning with a single up the middle and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Franzen. Gledhill took third on a ground out, then raced home on a throwing error by Camels second baseman Hartig.
Franzen wouldn’t let the Eagles get any closer. He allowed just two hits the rest of the way and struck out the final two batters in the seventh inning to end the game and send the 10th Region champion Camels into a Saturday match up with 14th Region champion Hazard.
Josh Sullivan; 859-231-3225