Carroll County Times

Cameron Bott’s home run is the difference as Patuxent baseball defeats Liberty, 5-4, to advance to 2A state final

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WALDORF — After three plate appearances he described as “funky,” Patuxent’s Cameron Bott stepped into the batter’s box with the game tied and facing one of the state’s best pitchers in Dominic DiBlasi. Two pitches later, the Panthers’ dugout was empty and home plate crowded as the entire Patuxent team readied to welcome the senior outfielder as he changed the season on just one swing.

Bott’s sixth-inning solo home run over the left-field fence at Regency Furniture Stadium gave the Panthers a 5-4 lead it carried to the end. For the second straight year, Patuxent baseball defeated Liberty to advance to the Class 2A state championship game.


“I knew the high fastball was coming, so I kind of just adjusted and turned on it,” Bott said.

The joy on the some of the Panthers’ faces as Bott rounded third was met with looks of relief from others as the Lions put the pressure on early, striking first and gaining control of the game.


The Lions came out aggressive at the plate. After a Jack Davidson base hit, Nate Martin’s RBI triple got the scoring started. In what seemed like seconds later, a single by Derek Goff and a Panthers error helped extend the Lions’ lead to 3-0.

“We looked bad at first,” Patuxent coach Keith Powell said. “We were kicking the ball around, playing like the Bad News Bears, but we regrouped and battled.”

Facing the talented pitching duo of Davidson and DiBlasi, the Panthers offense notched 11 hits on the night. Billy Clay, Nick Boswell and Asa Locks each finished with multiple hits.

The Panthers’ response started with a Clay triple in the fourth. He was brought in shortly after on a Ryan Moran ground ball. Clay then hit a two-RBI single in the fifth to give the Panthers the lead. Once Martin tied the game for the Lions with his second RBI of the game, it was once again up to last year’s 2A state runner-up to respond.

Itching to get back to the title game, Bott’s home run got the job done. Powell lauded his team’s resiliency, adding how the tough ending of falling in last year’s title game fueled the team throughout the year and got them ready for Tuesday’s big moment.

“We have nine seniors, they’ve all played big roles,” he said. “Every single one of them came back with the intention to bring the championship home this time around.”

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Now, as the Panthers look forward to practice in preparation for Saturday’s state championship game, it’s the Lions who now have to use the sting of a tough loss as fuel for the next season.

“There was no quit on this team this year,” Liberty coach Travis Inch said. “They battled their butts off and we just came up short.”


The Lions (18-5) caused problems for a lot of teams this season with a lineup filled with talent one through nine and a pitching staff that looked unhittable at times. With seven wins coming in five innings via the mercy rule and six shutout victories, this year’s Carroll County and 2A West Region I champs will go down statistically as one of the most dominant teams in 2022, something Inch saw coming years ago.

“We knew how good we were going to be by this point,” he said. “I’ve had Cam [Hodges] for four years, [Kevin] Hyde and Dom for three. Even when we brought Jack up from JV, we knew how good these guys were going to be for our program for years to come.”

Not only do Hodges (CCBC Catonsville), Hyde, DiBlasi (both committed to McDaniel) and a host of seniors depart for a new future, the program does as well.

2022 marked the final year for Liberty in 2A. With the move to 1A on the horizon, the goal for Inch is still the same as he looks to regroup and reload for next year.

“Even though we’re moving,” he said looking around the near-empty stadium, “we are going to be right back here.”