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Camden Fairview drops two games in Magnolia Tournament

by Michael Hanich | March 23, 2023 at 6:10 p.m.
Photo By: Michael Hanich Camden Fairview infielder Jy'Mauri Utsey up to bat in the game against El Dorado.

Spring Break has been an opportunity for Camden Fairview Cardinals baseball to get regain their composure after a tough 2-6 start to the 2023 season.

There was limited action for most teams, but the Cardinals had the opportunity to participate in the Magnolia Tournament on Thursday.

The Cardinals were determined to overcome their slow start to the season, but fell in their first game against the Genoa Central Dragons, 4-2.

The Dragons took a 1-0 lead at the bottom of the third inning thanks to a solid ground hit from sophomore Braxton Robertson that got senior Wiley Gammon home.

At the top of the fifth inning, senior outfielder A.J. Alsobrook had a chance to make a big play with the bases loaded. Instead, freshman Jy'Mauri Utsey was able to steal home base off a wild pitch from sophomore Camron Bush. Alsobrook was then hit by a pitch to get the bases loaded once again. Two batters later, freshman pitcher Jaden Bryant was able to walk on four balls to get senior infielder Jaxson Bradshaw home.

The Cardinals were able to take the lead, 2-1 until the bottom of the sixth inning. Bradshaw replaced Bryant on the pitcher's mound after a series of walks, but he also encountered some tough batters. His first batter got a walk while the bases were loaded to tie the game. One batter later, Genoa Central's Connor Reed hit a line drive that would get junior Dragon Joshua Kirkland home.

The Cardinals were unable to get one more score at the top of the seventh inning. After an initial single-base hit from senior shortstop Martavius Thomas, the Cardinals encountered three consecutive outs, including the last two being strikeouts.

Camden Fairview was able to account for seven hits, five walks and only two strikeouts, but could not finalize runs. Bradshaw accounted for one run and two hits. As the starting pitcher, Bryant allowed four runs, four hits and three walks while delivering three strikeouts.

The Cardinals had no time to feel sorry for themselves in the double header, as they immediately went on to face their biggest non-conference rival in the El Dorado Wildcats. The Cardinals looked to get revenge against the Wildcats as they have not beaten them on the field since March 26, 2021, when they won 9-6 in El Dorado.

To knock off an experienced and dangerous Wildcats team, the Cardinals started their ace pitcher, Dayson Connely. The Wildcats started the game with three big runs at the top of the first inning. Wildcats senior Hunter Lawrence accounted for a big double-base hit that got junior Sam York home for the first score of the game. The next batter, junior Jake Webster Moore, hit a solid ground ball that was picked up by Cardinals shortstop Martavius Thomas, who encountered a rare fielding error as senior Justin Dumas and Lawrence made it home, giving the Wildcats the 3-0 lead to start the game.

At the bottom of the first inning, Camden Fairview caught a little break as Alsobrook accounted for a big double-base hit and Thomas was able to get a single-base hit. One batter later, senior catcher Carson McKinney hit a deep fly ball that was caught, but it gave Alsobrook enough time to score the Cardinals' first run. Two batters later, sophomore outfielder Ben McKinney followed in his brother's footsteps to get a teammate, Thomas, home for an RBI, with a single-base hit.

At the top of the second inning, the Wildcats were able to get on base after Trey Murphy was hit by a pitch from Connely. Shortly after, Murphy was able to score on a set of fielding errors from the Cardinals. Cardinals freshman Herman Gill took over pitching after Connely appeared to suffer an injury. Gill allowed one walk and one hit in the same inning, but another fielding error from the Cardinals allowed the Wildcats to extend their lead 5-2. The Cardinals were able to lessen the deficit at the bottom of the inning with a run from freshman Jy'Mari Utsey, who was brought home thanks to a single-base hit from Alsobrook.

El Dorado added more two runs at the top of the third inning as they found a way to get big hits against Gill, who played some of his first meaningful varsity innings in this game. After allowing two runs, Gill was replaced by Ben McKinney, who ended the Wildcats' scoring run after El Dorado extended their lead, 7-3 going to the bottom of the third inning.

The Cardinals went scoreless at the bottom of the third inning to give the Wildcats, who had already developed a solid rhythm, a chance back up to the plate. McKinney allowed three walks and two hits, including a double-base hit. McKinney was replaced by Thomas who allowed one walk with the bases loaded before striking out one more Wildcat to end a three-run inning that extended El Dorado's lead 10-3 going to the bottom of the fourth inning.

Camden Fairview was out after three batters, and the Wildcats took their turn back at the plate at the top of the fifth inning. Fortunately for Camden Fairview, the Cardinals were able to get the first three batters out, including with a double-play from junior infielder Dylan Wendling.

The Cardinals had one more chance to create some momentum at the bottom of the fifth inning. A walk from Thomas and a double-base hit from Carson McKinney was a solid start. Bryant, the next batter, hit a fly ball that was caught just too late as Thomas to slid to home for a score. Two batters later, Utsey's line drive got McKinney home to get the score to 10-5, but Bradshaw's next hit was a deep fly ball that was caught to end the game for a big Wildcats win.

As a team, the Wildcats accumulated 10 runs off three hits and 10 walks while striking out only two times. The Cardinals accounted for seven hits, but once again, found trouble extending innings with six strikeouts and several fly balls. Martavius Thomas accounted for two runs and one hit in two at-bat appearances. A.J. Alsobrook accounted for one run, two hits and one RBI in three at-bat appearances.

It is still early in the season for the Camden Fairview Cardinals (2-8), but with momentum, a tough schedule and, now, injuries hitting the team, the Cardinals need some rest in these last days of Spring Break. The Cardinals will be back at home on Monday, March 27 as they host the Arkansas High School Razorbacks (7-1).

photo Photo By: Michael Hanich Camden Fairview outfielder A.J. Alsobrook running to second base in the game against El Dorado.
photo Photo By: Michael Hanich Camden Fairview pitcher Dayson Connely looks at his batter and catcher in the game against El Dorado.
photo Photo By: Michael Hanich Camden Fairview shortstop Martavius Thomas sliding for home base in the game against El Dorado.

Print Headline: Camden Fairview drops two games in Magnolia Tournament


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