State champions crumble in Camas

Papermakers hit, pitch and defend against Skyview

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The Camas baseball team stood out on the field Monday in their new red, white and black digital camouflage jerseys.

So did the Papermakers’ hitting, pitching and defense.

McKinley LeFore held defending state champion Skyview to two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Sam Jones threw a Skyview runner out at home plate. Blake Christopher leaped up and caught a line drive between first and second base. He also hit a run-scoring triple in the first inning. Jones snagged a sizzling grounder in the gap between second and third base, jumped back to his feet and threw the batter out at first.

“I didn’t have my best stuff, but I was able to work around my walks, keep the ball low and rely on my defense,” LeFore said. “We also had some big innings, which helped with my confidence. I was able to relax and throw strikes in there.”

Camas batted around for five runs in the third inning, added two more runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. Reilly Hennessey dropped the hammer down on the Storm with a 3-run home run in the sixth inning, and the Papermakers won the game 14-2.

Hennessey added an RBI triple to his first day back on the diamond after spring break. A home run was the perfect way to end it.

“After going two games without touching a base, that felt so good,” Hennessey said. “I was just trying to hit that ball past somebody, but I got it up in the air and let the wind do its thing. I finally hit one out of this jail cell.”

The Papermakers cannot celebrate for long. They are playing another game at Skyview today. First pitch is at 4 p.m.

“We know they are going to be hungry,” Christopher said. “We just have to keep doing what we did today, match their intensity and surpass them.”

“We believe we are one of the top teams in this league, but we have to come out and prove that each and every day,” Hennessey added. “We can’t have any lapses.”

Camas smashed Skyview with a tidal wave Monday. Head coach Joe Hallead told the Papermakers to keep riding it. If the weather stays dry, Camas plays at Skyview today, at Battle Ground Wednesday and hosts Evergreen Friday.

“We started out the first week in league 2-0, but we didn’t ride the wave to the crest and just sank in those last two games,” Hallead said. “It’s important for us to keep building on our prior success. If we can do that for the rest of this week, it will put us into a good position.”

The Papermakers hope to look back on this game as the turning point to their season. Right now, it’s only one of many victories they still need to get.

“Skyview beat us three times last year and they won the state championship,” LeFore said. “This sends a message to the league and the state. We’re hungry for wins and to get Camas back to the playoffs.”