By PATRICK MacCOON
From start to finish, senior star Camden Sewell put on a professional performance.Locked in from the moment he jogged down the left field line to warm up before the game, taking every routine …
From start to finish, senior star Camden Sewell put on a professional performance.
Locked in from the moment he jogged down the left field line to warm up before the game, taking every routine seriously, Sewell went on to stymie District 5-AAA opponent East Hamilton on Opening Day in an 8-0 home victory for Cleveland.
In front of 20-plus Major League Baseball scouts with their radar guns lifted behind home plate for most of a brisk Monday night, Sewell flirted with a no-hitter on his way to a complete-game, 13-strikeout performance.
"I love pitching in the spotlight," said Sewell, who led the district in punchouts last season. "I think it's every baseball player's dream to pitch in front of scouts and have that opportunity. I know I grew up wanting to play in the big leagues, and that's what I want to do."
What made Sewell so devastatingly deadly on the bump was not just his 90-mph fastball, but a sharp slider.
His hard-breaking pitch that looks like a fastball at first to the hitter was a weapon that accounted for seven of his strikeouts. Not to mention, it's a go-to pitch that had plenty of scouts raving.
"His slider is just dirty," said Cleveland outfielder Bryce Witt, who is Sewell's stepbrother. "You'll see kids back out, duck, or take funny swings on it. It's awesome to watch him out there, and it's been a joy to play with him."
Sewell sat down on strikes 10 of the last 12 batters he got out.
His no-hit bid was broken up with two outs in the top of the sixth, as Will Campbell just got around on a fastball he seemingly willed fair down the right field line.
With lots of attention after hitting 90-93 mph on radar guns down at a showcase in Jupiter, Fla. in front of MLB scouts, CHS was big league central on Opening Day to watch a rare talent.
"Camden had an absolute heck of a day," CHS head coach Preston Scoggins said. "What makes him great is he can throw a curve, slider, fastball on any count. We feel great any time he steps out there for us."
Despite receiving one run or less in five of eight district contest last season, the Blue Raiders did everything they could to give their Tennessee signee plenty of room to work with.
Occupying the three-hole, newcomer and junior shortstop Kellye Cawood broke open the game.
After scoring a run in the top of the first on a hard groundout by Landen Beaty, Cawood watched a curveball bounce to the backstop to score Clark Lockerby.
On the third pitch he saw of the night, the two-sport standout jumped on a high fastball that he roped up the middle to plate a pair. Cawood's hustle on the throw home landed him at second and he soon stole third.
Sewell padded the lead with an infield single to short to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
Cawood continued to torture East Hamilton, as he smacked his third consecutive hit up the middle that shot off the second base bag to plate Witt, who lead off the bottom of the fourth with a single and stole second.
Cawood finished the night 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs to go with a pair of stolen bases and two runs scored, while Witt went 3-for-4 and rounded the bases twice.
A double steal and a misfielded chopper to third built an 8-0 lead for the Blue Raiders, who averaged just 3 1/2 runs per game last season.
"To hit the ball like we did tonight was huge," Scoggins said of his team's eight-hit, eight-run night. "Hitting was our focus this preseason. We want to put it in play and hit it hard at anytime. Kellye came through with guys on base and Bryce did great things for us in the leadoff spot. This was a great team win."
After just 11 wins overall and three in district play last season, Cleveland has high hopes its Opening Day performance was the start of a trend.
Sewell blazed a fastball by his opponent for the final out in a start in which he only allowed four base runners. His defense made no errors behind him.
The Blue Raiders will send hard-throwing junior 6-foot-8 pitcher Patrick Williams (86-88 mph) to the mound for today's 5 p.m. start at East Hamilton.
East Hamilton;0;0;0;0;0;0;0 — 2 0 5
Cleveland;1;4;0;3;0;0;- — 8 8 0
WP: Camden Sewell; LP: Isaac Moulds. Highlights: Bryce Witt 3-for-4, 2 R, SB; Kellye Cawood 3-for-4, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 SB, Camden Sewell 1-for-2 RBI, Landen Beaty RBI, Cole Johnson RBI. Records: Cleveland 1-0, 1-0 5-AAA; East Hamilton 1-0, 1-0 5-AAA.
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