ALEXANDRIA — For four innings during Wednesday’s 10th Region baseball tournament semifinal at Campbell County High School, George Rogers Clark could not solve Camels senior right-hander David Jenkins, who entered play with a 1.25 earned run average.
“They had a good pitcher,” Cardinals coach Larry Allison said.
George Rogers Clark batters, however, remained patient. That paid off for the Cardinals and they eventually teed off on Campbell County's starter, plating two runs in the fifth inning and four runs in the sixth, paving the way to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory.
The Cardinals (22-11) play Bourbon County (26-8) in today's 7 p.m. final at Campbell County. The Colonels stunned defending region and state champion Harrison County 4-3 in 11 innings in the second semifinal contest.
Jenkins, who underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery on his throwing arm 13 months ago and suffers from early stages of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, breezed through the first four innings.
“I felt strong early on,” Jenkins said.
The momentum-swinging hit was supplied by Cardinals' senior first baseman T.K. Korb in the top of the fifth. Korb TKO’d Campbell County’s lead and tied it at 2-2 with a two-run home run belted over the fence in left-center field.
“Jenkins was cruising, but Korb’s homer kind of woke them up,” Campbell County coach Scott Schweitzer said. “(Jenkins) left a fastball up and the kid hit it 380 feet. And the next thing you know, they’re off.”
The Cardinals took a four-run lead in the sixth. Korb's single to center field plated the sixth run. That would be enough scoring to secure Clark’s first regional final appearance since it won the 2007 tournament. But there would be a passel of unusual plays before Wednesday’s game was complete.
Facing the Camels’ third pitcher, the Cardinals put the first two batters on base in the seventh with back-to-back singles and had two base runners thrown out at the plate in the inning, one on a throw from right field and another on a throw from second base.
The inning ended with Clark runners standing on first and third when Pokey Harris struck out on a pitch that hit him in the hand.
“That seventh was the strangest three outs I’ve ever seen,” Allison said. “But that’s the way the game goes sometimes and we prevailed.”
Korb went 3-for-4 with three RBI. Zach Pasley and Jake Robin added two hits each for the Cardinals, who have won five of the past six games. Logan McQuerry’s bases-loaded walk on Jenkins' 105th and final pitch, forced in a run, making it 5-2.
Campbell County rallied to within one and set the final score with three runs in its half of the sixth. Tyler Walsh belted a lead-off homer. The Camels' final run came across on a ground ball that was played for a force-out at second base, which was the location of two collisions and one controversial interference ruling.
Campbell County had runners on first and third with one out in the sixth, but Clark reliever Brent Stoneking preserved starter Anthony Withrow's unbeaten record, now 7-0, by getting an inning-ending, double-play line drive to the right side.
With the game contested so closely — the teams had identical totals in the categories of base hits (10), runners left on base (9) and errors (3) — every play carried enormous weight.
“That game had everything,” Schweitzer said. “It’s a game you'd like to win.”
Withrow exited following the fifth after throwing 89 pitches. The Camels put the tying run on first with a walk to start the bottom of the seventh, but Stoneking retired the next three batters and slammed the door on the Camels for the save.