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Cougars win baseball opener, 6-3

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By Dwane Wilder

Campbell County High School’s varsity baseball team made a successful 2012 debut Monday afternoon with a 6-3 victory over the Williamsburg (Ky.) Yellowjackets.

Senior Andy Hickman went the distance to earn the decision. He struck out seven batters along the way, walked two and gave up a pair of earned runs. Well over half of Hickman’s pitches were strikes.

“Andy threw the ball well,” Cougars’ coach Brad Collette said.

“I can’t say enough good things about Andy and (his twin brother) David. They’ve worked very hard to get where they are.

“I’m very happy with how way we played, especially for the first game of the year. We didn’t execute offensively as well as I thought we could, but that’s something we can always improve on.”

The Cougars went through their entire order in the bottom of the first inning. 

Sophomore Joseph Williams ground out in his first at-bat, but drove in the first run of the game. Bo Farris drove in another run with a hard-hit single and advanced all the way to third on a Williamsburg error.

Designated hitter Aaron Chapman smacked a run-scoring single to put Campbell County up 3-0 going to the second inning.

The Yellowjackets finally got their bats going in the top of the second and scored two runs, the last of which came on a bases-loaded walk to close the gap to 3-2.

Campbell County gave up just one more run the rest of the way.

The Cougars scored what turned out to be their final three runs of the game in the bottom of the third inning.

Chapman led off with a double. David Hickman ground out but drove in Chapman for a 4-2 advantage. Andy Hickman reached on an error, and Nick Bailey got on board with a single. 

Chris Hutson then had a base hit to drive in both Andy Hickman and Bailey for a 6-2 lead.

Andy Hickman did not allow a base runner in the top of the fourth inning. The Yellowjackets scored once more in the top of the sixth, when they cut it to 6-3. Andy Hickman turned in a gutsy performance in the top of the seventh by working out of a bases-loaded jam.

Leading a stingy Campbell County defense was shortstop Hutson and second baseman Landon Brackett, who handled eight chances without an error.

Offensively, Chapman went 2 for 3, while Farris was 2 for 4. The Cougars hit .280 as a team as opposed to .242 for the Yellowjackets. 

“It’s nice to be 1-0, but it’s a long season,” Collette said.

“We’ve just got to improve and get better every single day.”

In the nightcap, Campbell County’s junior varsity won its opener, 5-1, in four innings. Freshman Andrew Evans pitched a one-hitter for the Cougars. He struck out 11 batters and walked only one. Evans helped his cause by going 1 for 2 with an RBI. 

Jacob Monday was a perfect 2 for 2 with 2 RBI. Monday played error free baseball in his debut at catcher.

Campbell County shortstop Tucker Cain scored twice. Third baseman Austin Boyd had a 2-run double.

The Cougars travel to Williamsburg today (Thursday) for a rematch with the Yellowjackets and will host Oneida on Friday afternoon. 

Both games are scheduled to start at 5 p.m., weather permitting.