COLE CAMP — The Cole Camp Bluebirds and Lincoln Cardinals left little doubt as to who the best teams in the Kaysinger Conference are this year.
Both the Bluebirds and the Cardinals defeated their opponents in five innings Tuesday night and will face each other in the championship game of the Kaysinger Conference baseball tournament Thursday night at Liberty Park.
In Lincoln’s game, the Cardinals posted nine runs in the fourth inning to defeat the Smithton Tigers 14-2.
In the big inning, five of the Cardinals’ runs came with two outs as timely hitting propelled Lincoln to the victory.
“The kids really focused in on hitting,” said Lincoln coach Will Lynde. “We did a great job on bunting and moving players and making (Smithton) make plays. The same thing is true all over the area, if you put the ball in play and make the other team throw it around, good things could happen.”
Steven Wischmeier got the Cardinals on the board in the first inning. His double bounced off the fence in center field and scored Kevin Aery.
In the second inning, the Cardinals cashed in on two throwing errors by Smithton, allowing Kenny Winfrey and Earl Pierce to cross home plate.
Lincoln took a 3-0 lead into the third inning.
Once in the third, the Smithton bats came alive.
Keaton Foster and Sean Smith reached base for the Tigers, and Zach Price drove both of them home as his hard ground ball popped over the head of Lincoln’s Robert Southard.
Lincoln’s starting pitcher, Logan Treece, pitched his way out of trouble and escaped the inning with the 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Lincoln scored twice more. Winfrey singled to right field and scored teammate Josiah Casey, and Pierce followed with an RBI single.
“We had good timely hitting,” said Lynde. “We hit strikes and we didn’t swing at bad pitches. We did a lot of good things tonight.”
The Cardinals took a 5-2 lead into the fourth inning.
In the Cole Camp game, the Bluebirds used a solid pitching performance and an explosive offense to defeat the Stover Bulldogs 14-0.
“Andrew Yeager threw a whale of a game,” said Cole Camp coach Todd Rusk. “It was perfect conditions for him to throw in, a little humid, nice breeze. He threw very well.”
Yeager earned the shutout for Cole Camp.
“We have really worked hard on approaches at the plate,” Rusk said. “The last couple games, I’ve been real proud of them. We’ve been hitting the ball well.”
The Bluebirds scored five runs in the second inning and coasted to the victory.