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POTW: Chase Cameron

There were a number of strong performers last week, but it is hard to turn anywhere other than Chase Cameron for Player of the Week honors. Of all the question marks on the Demopolis baseball roster coming into the 2010 season, the biggest was starting pitching.

In years past, the Tigers have known exactly who could take the ball and turn in seven innings of solid work to give them a chance to win. Two years ago, it was Scott Cannon and Shelby Speegle. Last season, it was Speegle and Trey Oates. But this year, there were no clear cut aces.

And while Cameron is not yet where he could be, his last two outings have served to stake his claim to the team’s No. 1 pitching spot.

Against Bibb County a week and a half ago, Cameron toed the rubber for five and two-thirds innings. And while he was not at his sharpest, he used 121 pitches to strike out 13 batters and work out of a pair of bases loaded jams and never let Bibb County break through. But the question remained. Was this an isolated outing or had Cameron finally turned the corner toward his potential?

Friday night at Thomasville, Cameron underscored his previous outing with the best pitching performance of his varsity career. Starting on the road in Thomasville, Cameron worked a complete game. Over his seven innings, he allowed only three hits and two walks and struck out 16 batters in a 5-2 victory.

While the individual growth he has shown thus far this year is incredible, it is the message that he has sent his team over the last two weeks that is most valuable. During that span, Cameron has unequivocally stated that he is reliable, that he wants the ball and that he will give his team an opportunity to win the game. And that, more than anything else, is what the Tigers have been looking for since their playoff run ended last season.