Liam Fitzpatrick made the first hit for the Papermakers count Monday, at Mountain View High School.
After working a full count and fouling off a couple of pitches, the Camas High School senior drilled the baseball over the left field fence to give the Papermakers a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning.
“I fouled the one off before that and felt right on time,” Fitzpatrick said. “It felt good to square up on one.”
Camas added an insurance run in the fifth inning and scored three more runs in the seventh to defeat Mountain View 6-2. The Thunder struck for a run in the bottom of the first inning, but then Papermaker starting pitcher Hunter Bruno got into a groove. He tossed a complete game and gained seven strikeouts.
“That first run they got made me want to step it up a bit,” Bruno said. “I wish I would have thrown less pitches. I let my defense work in the later innings and they did well for me.”
The Papermakers did the work at the plate and on the base paths. Michael Matthews beat the throw from first to second base on a pick off attempt. He advanced to third on a grounder that should have been the third out in the top of the fifth inning, but a high throw by an infielder gave Matthews an opportunity to round third and slide home safely.
Camas broke the game open in the seventh. Sam Christopher and Tucker Parker earned back-to-back walks. Zach Pfeiffer turned a slow rolling grounder into an RBI single, Trevor Bentley laced an RBI single past the shortstop and Ryan Kempf roped an RBI triple into the right field corner.
“We did well at all facets of the game,” said Camas head coach Steve Short. “We don’t worry so much about how many outs we have. It’s all about having a good approach at the plate and putting good swings on the ball.”
Fitzpatrick’s home run was a game changer. Before that, the Papermakers didn’t have a hit. Kempf was the only batter to reach base after he was hit by a pitch.
“Liam has been swinging the bat well for us in the last few games,” Short said. “We are going to count on him all season long, and he’s proving he can come through in big situations.”
Mountain View won its first five league games before losing to Camas Monday. The Papermakers were also the first team in league to defeat Skyview Wednesday.
Camas beat the Storm 4-0. Bruno pitched a one-hit shut out and earned seven strikeouts. He also drove in a run at the plate and scored a run. Christopher knocked in two runs and Jared Bentley scored two times.
Camas bested Evergreen 1-0 Thursday. Parker tossed a 2-hit shut out with five strikeouts. Taylor Birchem drove in the decisive run in the fifth inning.
Bruno and Parker have been a one, two on the mound for the Papermakers.
“It’s been like that forever,” Parker said. “Senior year came fast, but it’s been fun.”
Camas had its hands full winning a 16-10 slugfest at Prairie Friday. The Falcons rallied from a 10-0 deficit to get within three in the fifth inning. Trevor Bentley ended the rally when he caught a fly ball in center field and threw the runner out at home tagging up from third base.
“I just need to get this guy out,” Bentley thought as he got the ball to Camas catcher Christian Hellberg without a bounce. “It felt great to get that final out and transfer the momentum back to our bats.”
The Papermakers scored six more runs in the top of the sixth. Both Bruno and Fitzpatrick finished with 4 RBI.
Camas (5-2) heads to Union today and hosts Union Wednesday. Both games begin at 4 p.m.
“Losing those first two games taught us a lot. To be able to bounce back and win five in a row shows the growth of this team from last year to this year,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a new season. Our last hurrah here at Camas.”