The drive to school takes about 35 minutes without traffic and the early-morning conversation almost always centers on pitching. When you ride to school with the team's two stars -- both pitchers -- and one of them is your older brother, you just accept it, DeMatha catcher Matt Campbell said.
This morning, though, the topic of discussion might be a little different. Campbell, a sophomore, had hits in his first three at-bats, scored each time and drove in three runs, helping the fourth-ranked Stags to a 14-7 victory over Good Counsel yesterday in the semifinals of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda.
DeMatha, the two-time defending league champion, will play fifth-ranked St. John's in tonight's title game at 7:30 at Povich Field. Ivor Hodgson pitched 12/3 innings of scoreless relief and the Cadets scored twice in the top of the seventh for a 4-2 victory over eighth-ranked O'Connell.
After scoring two runs in the top of the first, St. John's (22-4) missed on several scoring opportunities until the seventh. Jesse Ogle was hit by a pitch, Mike Graves bunted for a single and Greg Saville walked to load the bases with no outs. Eric Weller then was hit by a pitch, scoring Ogle with the tiebreaking run.
At DeMatha, for much of the season Matt Campbell had gone unnoticed as he threw the ball back to his older brother, Robbie, or Brett Cecil. Robbie Campbell, who has accepted a scholarship to play baseball at East Tennessee State, has batted twice this season. Cecil, who has signed with Maryland and is being followed by professional scouts because of his pitching, has 64 strikeouts with just six walks. It is no wonder why pitching is the subject when the Campbells and Cecil carpool to their Hyattsville private school.
"They're both pitchers, so I get to talk to them about who's starting today and talk about the game plan," said Matt Campbell, who had batted ninth for most of the season. Campbell moved to second in the order two weeks ago and then settled into the fifth spot behind Anthony Russell, who leads the team in RBI and slugging.
Yesterday, Robbie Campbell struggled through the first inning as DeMatha fell behind 3-0, but the Stags (21-4) quickly rallied. Matt Campbell, a .379 hitter, had a two-run double in the bottom of the inning as DeMatha scored six runs. He singled in the second and had a run-scoring single in the third.
"I think a lot of Matt Campbell, that's why he's there," DeMatha Coach Charlie Sullivan said. "He's been hitting the ball real well."
Brad Taylor, the WCAC player of the year, had a two-run home run, a double and scored four runs for Good Counsel (18-9).