Camdenton broke out the wood bats over the weekend in tournament action for the second time this season as it co-hosted the First State Community Bank Tournament with Lebanon
It was a weekend of highs and lows as the Lakers split their four games and finished fourth in the 8-team tournament, defeating Conway 6-2 and Kirksville 3-1 while falling to Ladue Horton-Watkins 7-2 and Mansfield 14-3.
“We did ok. I think the last three years we’ve won 10, 11 or 12 games and I’m pretty sure half of our wins have come from both of our wood bat tournaments so they have definitely treated us well,” Camdenton coach Bryce Durnin said. “It is always a fun weekend, everyone loves coming to play down here and it is always good to play at home.”
And the variety of teams Camdenton and Lebanon see may be what Durnin appreciates the most about the tournament because new things can be learned and new relationships can be forged. This years’ tournament saw a field comprised of teams from as far south as the Springfield area and as far east as the St. Louis area.
“To me, it really kind of sums up the Lake. It is an eclectic group of people and people from all over that are down here,” Durnin pointed out. “It is always fun to see other people and new groups. For me personally, I just like to learn from other people so when we get teams from all over the state, you can just kind of get to pick up certain things. Maybe some things you did not know, some things you forgot and remember or maybe just something new.”
Of course, it did not hurt that the Lakers had relatively favorable weather conditions to play in as well.
“The sun, man I have not seen that in forever so I think I was most excited about that,” Durnin added with a smile.
Camdenton started its 4-game homestand on Friday afternoon with Ladue Horton-Watkins, a school just 12 miles outside downtown St. Louis. An early 3-run deficit proved too much to overcome as the Lakers were held to four total hits on the day and Paxton DeLaurent recorded the lone RBI. Meanwhile, the pitching duo of Jack Welsh and Cole Linch combined to allow five earned runs on seven hits and six walks while striking out seven.
Things went much better for the Lakers in their second outing against Conway as a 2-1 fifth inning deficit was erased with a 5-run sixth inning. Linch led the way offensively with three RBIs while Brandon Pasley and Riley Stidham drove in the other two runs as the team only put up four hits again. The pitching of Garrett Stamper and Nolan Moriearty got the job done for Camdenton as they combined to allow two earned runs on two hits while walking nine and striking out five.
The third game against Kirksville was more of a defensive battle, but one where Camdenton prevailed as two runs in the second inning proved to be more than enough with the Tigers putting up one run in the seventh. Stidham had a big day on the mound, throwing a complete game and allowing just one earned run on four hits while walking a single batter and striking out five. Linch, DeLaurent and Stidham came up with the only hits while Austin Carter provided the lone RBI.
The finale against Mansfield proved to be a tough one as the Lions put up seven runs in the first inning, finished with 12 hits and never looked back. Camdenton posted seven hits of its own, but only came up with two RBIs from the bats of Pasley and Linch. The pitching trio of Andrew DiBello, Moriearty and Carter combined to allow nine earned runs while walking 11 batters and striking out three.
Pitching and defense had relatively been a strength for Camdenton throughout the weekend, but due to a self-admitted scheduling error the team only had nine players on hand Saturday with the junior varsity up in Columbia playing Rock Bridge and Hickman. Therefore, pitchers were on the mound that are not normally on the hill.
“As long as we can keep ourselves in the game late, we are usually able to at least give ourselves a chance,” Durnin said. “This last game, we just had nobody. I don’t think we necessarily laid down, but I think our approach was bad in the middle innings with such a deficit to try and make up with. We should have all our pitching ready to go and reset for next week.
“The pitching and defense seemed to be our strength, but we need to hit it better for sure.”
And the batting numbers may certainly improve as long as the Lakers utilize more plate discipline.
“What we talked about is just the pitch recognition with a lot of guys that are first-pitch swinger,” Durnin noted. “We need to do a better job of recognizing pitches, pitch selection and just not guessing in general... Otherwise we have to work that count and feel comfortable doing so.”
Camdenton (10-7, 1-5 Ozark Conference) will take a trip to El Dorado Springs on Tuesday in a makeup game at 4:30 p.m.