Campbell baseball grabs early lead, maintains it in 8-4 district win over Bernie
BERNIE — The second-seeded Bernie baseball team gave the Campbell Camels an opening and they sped right through it.
The Mules committed a first-inning error, and third-seeded Campbell turned it into four unearned runs and upset Bernie 8-4 in the semifinals of the Class 2 District 1 tournament Tuesday at Bernie Schools.
The Camels faced top-seeded Portageville in the championship game later Tuesday. The top seed won 19-3 in a game called after three innings because of the 15-run mercy rule.
Bernie starter Wyatt Barnett struck out the first batter of the game and retired the next on a liner to second base. However, third-place batter Kaden Siebert reached base on an error by the shortstop. Ben Barnett singled to the third baseman, and Sky Morrison doubled to left field for a 1-0 lead.
“In the first inning, the first two guys got out. We were kind of cruising, and we make an error,” Bernie coach Marcus Massey said. “After we made that error … the flood gates kind of opened up. They had a couple of singles after that. Before too long, they scored four runs with two outs in the first. We were kind of on our heels after that.”
After Charles Parker drew a walk to load the bases, Gordon Todd blooped a run-scoring single to right field. Garrett Henderson singled home two more runs with a base hit to right.
“It’s always big to get some runs early, but we knew that wasn’t going to be enough,” Campbell coach Joe Campbell said. “We knew Bernie’s a good team. We had to stay locked in and keep scoring.”
Campbell added another run in the third and two insurance runs in the sixth to secure the victory.
“We’ve struggled at times swinging the bat,” Joe Campbell said. “We knew they were throwing a good pitcher. We’ve seen him once already. He’s got a good arm. We knew we were going to have to go to work at the plate today. I feel like we did for the most part. I’m proud of the way we swung the bats today.”
The Camels finished with 12 hits, including two for extra bases. Jake Hankins hit a solo homer in the second to give them a 5-1 lead.
Parker singled and scored on a two-out base hit by Joey Barnett in the third for a 6-4 lead.
Wyatt Barnett singled, stole second, dashed to third on a wild pitch and scored on Josh Vaughn’s single up the middle in the first inning.
Vaughn hit a two-out solo homer in the third, and the Mules cut their deficit to two with two runs in the fourth. Tyler Suiter and Hunter Slavings hit back-to-back one-out singles, and with two outs, Weston Zoll drove them home with a single to center.
“They kept fighting. We just didn’t give up,” Massey said. “At one point, we closed it back within two there in the (fourth inning). We were slowly getting our way back in it and Campbell scores two more to make it (a four-run game).”
Ben Barnett and Morrison hit consecutive run-scoring singles in the sixth.
Jacob Vines secured the victory, allowing four runs on nine hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
“He did what he’s done for us all year,” Joe Campbell said. “He mixes it up, keeps guys a little bit off balance and gives us a chance to win, and that’s what he did today.”
Massey said that Vines threw a lot of breaking pitches.
“We chased a lot of balls there, especially late in the game, (that were) out of the zone that we probably shouldn’t have swung at,” Massey said, “but the kids were trying to compete. They were trying to make the most of it. That’s all you can ask for.”
Wyatt Barnett was charged with loss, yielding eight runs — four earned — on 12 hits with five strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
The Mules will lose five seniors from a team that finished the season 16-6. Their seniors are Wyatt Barnett, Jaden McGowan, Slavings, Josh Vaughn and Weston Zoll.
“You can’t ask for a better group,” Massey said. “They’re great kids. We have several who scored over 30 on the ACT. We never had any issues out of them as far as discipline (was concerned).”
The quartet played a role in the Mules’ district championship last season.
“They came back and had a great senior year,” Massey said. “(They) finished the season 16-6, which is a good year. We wish them the best.”