BISMARCK — Although he was flirting with history for a Kingston baseball program that has finally risen to respectability in recent years, Josh Camillo was simply focused on earning a big conference win Thursday afternoon.
The sidewinding sophomore baffled the Bismarck lineup with tailing fastballs and timely breaking pitches to retire 20 consecutive batters, moving to within one out of an elusive perfect game.
Despite watching that bid slip away along with a potential shutout, Camillo punctuated the first no-hitter by a Kingston hurler with his ninth strikeout, and the Cougars celebrated a 4-1 road victory.
“I really just wanted to win the game,” Camillo said. “I came out for the seventh inning looking to dominate, just trying to get some more on my fastball… Our defense played awesome all day.”
Leadoff man Klayton Loughary began the Bismarck seventh with a ground ball to shortstop Ross Politte, who made six defensive assists overall. Logan Blunt was then frozen by a curve ball for the second out.
Tyler Pearl was drilled on the outside shoulder to become the Indians’ first baserunner, and scored easily from second when Ryan Johnston’s fly ball was mishandled near the right-field line.
Camillo completed his first successful trip through the order when a throw was saved on a full stretch by first baseman Matt McCoy, who had pitched a one-hit shutout three days earlier against Bourbon.
“I’ve never seen a perfect game going in high school with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning,” said Kingston coach Steve McCoy, a former standout pitcher both at Potosi and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
“You can’t say enough about (Camillo). He has worked hard all winter, and goes to pitching lessons looking to get better. His ball moves everywhere. He threw strikes and used the umpire’s strike zone to his advantage today.”
Loughary provided six solid innings on the mound for Bismarck, compiling 12 strikeouts while yielding three singles. He fanned eight of the next nine batters after Politte’s RBI hit gave Kingston a 3-0 lead in the second.
The Cougars (4-1) capitalized on two walks in the opening frame. Politte scored on Camillo’s ground out after stealing second and third, and Brendan McCoy singled home Matt McCoy with two outs.
“We talk about winning the first inning in every practice and before every game,” Coach McCoy said. “Anytime we put a crooked number on the board, it makes things so much easier on our pitcher.”
Pinch-hitter Brendan Dickerson greeted reliever Jake Swain with a single in the seventh, and Caleb Harris made it 4-0 with a RBI single to left.
Bismarck (2-3) closed out its fall season by winning nine straight games, but has yet to score more than three runs in any spring contest.
Kingston 210 000 1 – 4 4 1
Bismarck 000 000 1 – 1 0 0
WP – Josh Camillo 7ip 1r 0er 0h 9k 0bb 1hp.
LP – Klayton Loughary 6ip 3r 3er 2h 12k 3bb 2hp.
Kingston – Brendan Dickerson 1-1, Ross Politte 1-3, Brendan McCoy 1-3, Caleb Harris 1-4.
Bismarck – None.