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.
For much of the season, Matt Campbell has gone unnoticed as he throws to 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 only six walks. It is no wonder why pitching is the subject as 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 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.
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).
After scoring two runs in the top of the first inning of the second game, 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.
Old Mill Wins Title Again
Senior Jeff Koscielniak pitched four innings of near-flawless relief and 10th-ranked Old Mill took advantage of multiple Chesapeake mistakes to defeat the seventh-ranked Cougars, 8-4, in the Anne Arundel County championship game at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans.
The victory gave the defending Maryland 4A champion Patriots (17-4) their second consecutive county title and longtime coach Mel Montgomery his 400th career victory.
"It makes me feel pretty good," Montgomery said.
Old Mill struggled early against Chesapeake ace Jake Shibilsky and trailed 4-1 after the Cougars' Ian Sylvester hit an RBI single in the top of the fourth inning.
With nobody out and two runners on, things looked bleak for the Patriots. But that's when Koscielniak entered the game. The senior had wanted to start, but had pitched seven innings Monday, so Montgomery kept him for relief. Koscielniak struck out two to get out of the jam in the fourth, then struck out four more in the final three innings. He allowed just two hits and no runs and even picked off a runner to end the sixth inning.
"Jeff came up huge tonight," senior catcher Mike Broccolino said. "He's been talking all week about coming in and closing out this game."
The Patriots scored four runs in the top of the sixth by capitalizing on Cougars miscues -- two balks, three walks and one error. Then, in the top of the seventh, Broccolino hit a two-run single to give Old Mill some breathing room.
Chesapeake (17-3) made six errors in the game; Old Mill made none.
Donahue Leads Bowie
Bowie claimed the title at the inaugural Prince George's County championship game with a 2-0 victory over Gwynn Park at Cosca Regional Park in Clinton.
The Bulldogs (20-1) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Bryan Trotter that scored Shane Kogok. Kent Showler scored the second run when Gwynn Park attempted to pick Bryan Wilson off stealing second.
That scoring was all the Bulldogs needed as left-handed pitcher Adam Donahue held Gwynn Park (15-4) to three base runners. He struck out 14, walked two and yielded one hit.
"This is big for us," said Donahue. "We didn't hit the ball extremely well, so our defense had to be solid. We executed well. We knew that they were a good team."
Staff writer Judith Evans contributed to this report.