Conference Battle

Veterans power Edenton baseball past Camden w/Video

John A. Holmes 8 Camden 4

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Edenton's Chace Kelly pitched five innings and recorded five strikeouts against Camden, baseball, Friday March 9, 2018 at Hicks Field at John A. Holmes High School.


By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Saturday, March 10, 2018

EDENTON — John A. Holmes baseball coach Robert Jordan noted that his Aces are a young team.

Edenton, the defending North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 2A state champion, lost a very productive senior class that powered Edenton to the crown last spring.

Fortunately for Jordan, his returning veterans were the catalyst for Edenton to secure its first Albemarle Athletic Conference victory on Friday night.

Edenton's Ben Ward went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs, while Chace Kelly pitched five solid innings as the Aces defeated Camden 8-4 at Hicks Field.

"We did some good things," Jordan said. "We're young and we're learning and trying to get better every day. We've got a lot of thing to improve on, but at the same time, we have a lot to build on."

Although Ward and Kelly had an impact, some new players had contributing roles in the contest.

In the bottom of the first inning, senior Daquan Wilson, a first-year varsity player for the Aces, connected on a one-out double.

That set the table for Ward, who followed with a double that scored Wilson to give Edenton a 1-0 lead.

Wilson went 2-for-2 with three runs scored and two steals.

The Aces (2-1, 1-0 Albemarle Athletic Conference) added to their lead in the second.

With the bases loaded and two out and Ward at the plate, Edenton added runs on a play that saw Camden (2-1, 0-1 AAC) deliver a wild pitch that went to the backstop.

The Camden catcher tried to throw out the Edenton runner advancing from third base at home, but the throw went into the infield, which allow the first run to score and allowed a second run to cross home plate.

That upped the Aces' lead to 3-0.

Ward, a senior, added the third run of the frame on a RBI double to pace the Aces to a 4-0 advantage after two innings.

"Ben is a four-year starter," Jordan said. "He gets better every year. He's probably North Carolina's best kept secret. If I was a college coach anywhere, Division I, I don't care who it is, I'd be down here in Edenton looking at him. He is such a good kid."

For the next two plus inning, Kelly, a junior, limited the Bruins as the senior kept the Bruins scoreless entering the fifth.

Kelly went five innings, surrendering four hits, two earned runs and registered five strikeouts for the win.

"Chace has done a good job with his command," Jordan said. "He's throwing the ball well. We are going to depend on him a lot this year."

Jordan added that for a player that had limited innings pitched at the varsity level, Kelly, who last season primarily played at second base, did a great job against Camden.

After having its struggles at the plate, Camden got a break in the fifth inning.

With a runner on first and second and no out, Kelly forced a Camden batter to hit into a potential double play.

The infield umpire called the runner safe at second, but the batter out at first.

After Edenton players and coach Jordan objected to the safe call at second, the play stood as called on the field.

With a runner on second and third base and one out, a Caden Pipkin groundout scored a run from third to cut the deficit to 4-1.

Camden's Jackson Gay followed with a RBI single to make it a 4-2 contest.

"We've got a young team. I'm just glad that they got to experience that intensity and what our conference is going to be like," Camden coach Hunter Lowe said. “That got their feet wet for what it going to be like in the conference every single game.”

Camden pitcher Dallas Trevena went four innings on the mound for the Bruins.

"He kept us in the game," Lowe said of Trevena. 

Edenton added a run in the bottom of the frame on an error to take a 5-2 lead.

The unforced errors by the Bruins aided the Aces.

“We cost ourselves on many errors,” Lowe said.

With two on and two out, Camden scored a run in the sixth inning on a bloop single into shallow right field by Trent Nixon to make it a 5-3 game.

In the bottom of the frame, the Aces took advantage of Camden miscues to score three runs in the inning to take an 8-3 lead.

One of the runs for Edenton came on a based-loaded single by freshman third baseman Chris Morris.

Morris went 2-for-4 with a RBI in the contest.

In the seventh, Camden loaded the bases with no out via a dropped fly ball, a walk and a single.

Camden scored on an error on a pickoff attempt to make it an 8-4 score.

A situation occurred at second base as a Camden baserunner and an Edenton infielder were involved in an altercation.

The Edenton infielder was tossed from the game, while a Camden player near the dugout was disqualified from the contest for entering the field of play.

According to Lowe, some Edenton players surrounded the Camden baserunner.

“The first instinct is to go help your teammate,” Lowe said of the player leaving the dugout area. “It’s not the right thing to do, but I’m not going to say it’s the wrong thing to do because you want them to have their teammates’ back.”

The Camden baserunner involved in the incident remained in the contest.

"That was unfortunate," Jordan said. "The second guy always gets caught."

The Edenton coach added that his player was retaliating to the other player that was pushing.

"We hope in the future the umpires will see that is going on and try to take better control of the situation before something like that even happens," Jordan said. "That's no excuse for the way our guy acted."

The Edenton coach added that they are young guys and emotions run high.

The Camden coach noted that he told his team that they were facing the defending state champion and needed to be fired up.

“We met that intensity level,” Lowe added. “I feel like buttons were pushed a little too far there, but I feel the umpires handled it pretty well.” 

After the incident, Ward, who was on the mound in relief in the seventh, struck out the final two Camden batters to secure to win.

Both teams return to action on Tuesday as Edenton takes on league foe Plymouth at Hicks Field, while the Bruins welcome in AAC rival Manteo to Camden.