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GREENSBORO—Brunswick County baseball players made a good impression during the State Games Thursday through Sunday in Greensboro.
The four county players—Dakota Irwin of North Brunswick High School and Pat and Wally Kamfolt and Joshua Powell of West Brunswick High School—were part of the Region 2 team, which finished 2-2 in the eight-team tournament. And in the final game, a come-from-behind 6-5 victory on Sunday against Region 5, Pat Kamfolt drove in the tying run on a 3-2 count with one out in the final inning.
“He hit me the last time up,” Kamfolt said about the pitcher, “so I figured he would just try to throw me a fastball, and he did. I was trying to put the ball in play. They had the infield in.
“He was throwing pretty hard. I just threw my hands at the ball. I hit one pretty hard, and it found the hole.”
Region 2 won the game when Ryan Cronmer scored from first base on two throwing errors as he stole second base and third base.
The three other Brunswick players also got into the game. Wally Kamfolt started at second and had an assist and made on error. He was 0-1 with one walk and played four innings. Pat Kamfolt entered as a substitute at third base, and Powell and Irwin were substitute outfielders. Powell got on base when he was hit by a pitch.
The four got as much playing time as possible in all four of the games, considering they were part of a 20-man roster. Coach Steve Clarke praised all four.
“I thought all of the Brunswick boys (played) well,” he said. “They work hard, and they know how to play the game. They act like they’re supposed to act as baseball players.
“Pat and Wally are very sound fundamentally, sucking up groundballs. Josh did a great job catching for us. Dakota, he’d run through a wall for you.
“It’s fun being around guys that know how to play and love the game.”
Clarke was as impressed with their off-the-field demeanor as well as their on-the-field skills.
“They’re going to do well in whatever it is (they
choose),” he said. “I think the future looks bright for those guys.”
Pat Kamfolt said the State Games were “a good experience.”
“It shows you how good you need to be, and that there is always someone out there better than you, working harder than you. You always have to try that much harder and work that much harder.”
Another feature of the State Games was a tryout June 11 in front of professional and college baseball scouts.
“I’ve never seen so many scouts in my life,” Pat Kamfolt said. “I was nervous. Hopefully, one of them will pick me up—out of the thousand.”
Region 2 won the first game 8-7 against Region 4 on Thursday, and a key inning was the sixth. Region 2 began the inning ahead 6-5. Wally Kamfolt led off and singled, Clarke said. After another batter got on base, Irwin had a sacrifice bunt with no one out, advancing the runners to third and second, Clarke said. They later scored, giving Region 2 an 8-5 lead. The runs proved critical, as Region 4 scored twice in the bottom of the seventh.
Pat Kamfolt also played, getting in as a designated hitter and playing in the infield, Clarke said. Powell played the last three innings as a catcher, Clarke said.
In its second game, on Friday, Region 2 lost 9-7 to Region 8. Region 8 went on to win the silver medal.
All four county players started. Wally Kamfolt played second, Pat Kamfolt shortstop, Powell left field and Irwin catcher.
“Pat made a real nice play on a slow roller,” Clarke said.
The only one who got a hit was Irwin, who was 1-for-2, Clarke said.
That loss set up a game with Region 6 on Saturday for the right to advance to the medal round, but Region 2 lost 4-2. The game was tied 1-1 entering the seventh, but Region 6 scored three runs to win the game, Clarke said.
Pat Kamfolt started at shortstop.
“He was solid on defense,” Clarke said.
Wally Kamfolt was a substitute at second base. He did not get a hit but he was hit by a pitch. Josh Powell started at catcher and played three innings. Dakota Irwin caught three innings. None of the four had a hit.
Region 2 played its first three games at UNC Greensboro and its last game at War Memorial Stadium. Region 6 won the bronze medal and Region 3 the gold medal.
MICHAEL PAUL is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at email@example.com.