Campbell County used a pair of huge innings to trigger the mercy rule and knock off Hazard 14-3 to earn the final ticket to next weekend’s semifinal round of the Rawlings/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
The Camels belted out 12 hits and scored in each of the game’s final five innings.
Joe Eblin went 2-for-3 with three RBI. The junior outfielder said the Camels’ spirits are high heading into next weekend.
“After run-ruling a team in the state tournament we feel pretty great,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty good shot at winning it all.”
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Hazard struck first with a leadoff home run to right field from Griffin Wells. Blake Nidiffer added an RBI single to left to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Campbell County struck back with one run in the second and a pair in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Hazard tied the game on a throwing error by Campbell County starting pitcher Colin Hartig that scored Rudy Akemon.
The Camels regained the lead on an RBI triple by Ethan Kremer in the fourth inning, then blew the game open with a four-run frame in the fifth inning, capped by a two-run single by Eblin.
They kept the barrage going in the sixth inning. Collin Teegarden singled up the middle for his second hit of the game, then stole second base. After Colton Hartig was hit by a pitch, Cory Franzen singled to left field to load the bases. Connor Walsh sent a two-run double off the left-field wall, and Carson Plessinger followed with a sacrifice fly to deep right field. Eblin and Kremer added back-to-back RBI doubles to give the Camels a six-run inning and a 14-3 lead.
“They were awesome,” Campbell County Coach Stephen Schweitzer said. “The offense just kept on going. Tonight it was through the whole order. As soon as they made a mistake, we got the key hit and kept on going.”
Campbell County’s win puts them in rarified air. The Camels’ last state tournament appearance was in 1972, when they lost in the quarterfinals.
“We’re not satisfied with just coming here to play,” Schweitzer said. “I want the kids to know we’re not just here to participate and make school history. We want to make school history bringing a trophy home.”
Josh Sullivan; 859-231-3225