FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) – It’s not just that the Paul D. Camp Community College baseball team won its first-ever region title over the weekend.

It’s how they did it.

They not only knocked off the top-ranked team in the nation, they followed that up with a 31-run performance in the championship game, which capped off a player-of-the-week performance from a sophomore who’s among the nation’s leaders in batting average, homers and RBI.

In winning the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Region 10 title, the Hurricanes defeated then-top-ranked Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (36-5) 9-7 in the semifinals before a dominating 31-7 win over Surry Community College in the championship game as they pounded out 22 hits.

The win set off a massive celebration among the Camp players as they brought a championship trophy back to Franklin.

(Photo – Paul D. Camp Community College)

Camp (31-17), by winning the Region 10 tournament, moved into the National Junior College Athletic Association top 15 at No. 15.

The region title means Camp will host Prince George’s Community College (9-26) in a best-of-three Mid-Atlantic District Championship May 19-20 for a bid to the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series at Pioneer Park in Greenville, Tennessee May 27-June 1. Prince George’s Community College, despite its record, is coming off a Region 20 title

And with a dominating performance in the Region 10 tournament, sophomore Joseph Eichelberger was named NJCAA Division III player of the week, batting .733 during the tournament with five homers, 14 RBI and hitting for the cycle in one of those tournament games.

Camp had gone into the Region 10 tournament as the second seed, with a 28-17 overall record and 14-5 in conference play, while Caldwell, with a 35-3 overall record and an unblemished 17-0 conference record, was the top seed.

The Hurricanes opened the region tournament last Friday with a 10-9 win over No. 3 seed Surry, getting home runs from Eichelberger, Misael Garcia (Deep Creek HS) and Tyler Cotten (Grafton HS, Yorktown), who hit two out of the park in going 3-for-5 at the plate. Five Hurricanes – Eichelberger, Garcia, Cotten, Cole Mallory and John Stansbury – drove in two runs apiece.

Camp, after finding itself down 2-0 in the bottom of the first, scored three runs to take the lead, and then after Surry had scored two more to go back in front, 4-3, the Hurricanes erupted for five runs in the bottom of the third to retake the lead, 8-4.

That lead didn’t last long, as Surry tied the game in the top of the fourth, but with single runs in the fifth and seventh innings, it was enough to hold off Surry and advance. Connor Blence got the win on the mound, allowing five hits but just one run while striking out six in 5-1/3 innings in relief of starter Cooper Newell (Hickory HS, Chesapeake).

Camp had to play from behind again in its matchup against top-ranked Caldwell, falling behind 4-1 after the first inning. However, the Hurricanes stayed within striking distance, and then got a four-run seventh to go ahead for good, and then added a single run in the eighth for the final 9-7 result.

(Photo – Paul D. Camp Community College)

Eichelberger, batting .417 for the season with 16 homers, 60 RBI and 30 stolen bases, once again had a hot bat, hitting for the cycle in going 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI – hitting a double in the first, walking in the third, homering in the fifth, striking a triple in the seventh and hitting a single in the eighth.

On the mound, CJ Patterson (Woodside HS, Newport News) pitched two innings of hitless and scoreless relief, striking out three, to get the win.

The Hurricanes followed up the following day with the win over Caldwell before their blastastic win over Surry.

Eichelberger continued his torrid bat, going 5-for-6 with 10 RBI, followed close behind by Cotten, who also went 5-for-6 and drove in nine runs. Both feasted on Surry pitching, each hitting three home runs in the game. Ben Williams drove in another four runs.

Surry started out by scoring three runs in the first, but Camp’s field day at the plate began in the bottom of the inning, scoring six times.

By the end of the fourth, the Hurricanes were up 17-5, but they were far from done, getting lucky sevens in both the sixth and seventh inning to account for their final run total. They also took advantage of 16 walks.

Camp will now have some time off before it faces Prince George’s for a berth in the NJCAA Division III Baseball World Series.