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Jefferson's Campbell is super, shuts down Bulldogs

April 02, 2008|By JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Even while the Battle of the Brandons was playing out Tuesday night, Martinsburg coach John Lowery Jr. had a feeling the war was over.

Jefferson's Brandon Campbell struck out 15 Martinsburg batters in seven innings, pitching defending state champion Jefferson to a 4-1 victory over the Bulldogs and an injured Brandon King at Sager Field.

"We had no chance against Campbell," Lowery Jr. said. "We struck out 15 times, (six) of them looking. We had no chance, regardless of the score."

Campbell (4-0) was called on by Jefferson coach John Lowery to throw 134 pitches to give the Cougars (10-1) the early edge in the race for the sectional playoff bye.

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"He doesn't have to pitch until next week," Lowery said after noting his team has four more games this week. "He's a workhorse. He's shown that. And he didn't throw that many breaking pitches."

Campbell walked seven, but struck out at least two in every inning. He fanned the side in the seventh, after entering the inning with a pitch count of 122.

Meanwhile, King, who joined Campbell on the Class AAA all-state second team last year, left the game after pitching four innings and allowing two earned runs.

King struck out five and walked two. All three of the hits he allowed came in the first as Jefferson took a 2-0 lead.

Marquise Jones' one-out single up the middle started the rally and Campbell singled to center field. Andrew Rotruck singled to drive in Jones, while courtesy runner Dillon Regalia took third on the throw to the plate.

Regalia scored on a wild pitch.

"We only had four hits, and three of them were in the first inning," Lowery said. "A lot of times, if you're able to bunch hits together, then you can do something with them."

Martinsburg finally got to Campbell in the fifth, thanks to Spike Geffert's leadoff triple. He scored on Ryan Bennett's single to right field.

King walked with no outs, but Campbell struck out pinch hitter Zach Woolcock, got Jordan Mason to ground out and struck out T.J. Wiesenberg with two runners in scoring position.

"I think, sooner or later, if you play with fire, you're going to get burned," Lowery said. "I don't think you can get out of two-baserunner situations with no one out all the time, but he's got the stuff to do that."

Lowery Jr. agreed.

"He was absolutely amazing," he said. "Every year, they have somebody ... Jonathan Hash last year, Campbell this year. He's about as good as it gets. He throws in the mid-80s, a great curveball and a great mound presence. He's not scared to finish a game."

Campbell got a little insurance in the bottom of the sixth when Tyler Hester walked and beat a force play at second and moved to third on a wild pitch following an intentional walk to Campbell.

After Rotruck was intentionally walked to load the bases, Stephen Peters smacked a double over the head of center fielder Wiesenberg, scoring Hester and Regalia.

Two runs were more than enough for Campbell, even with the high pitch count.

"He throws as many pitches as they want him to throw," Lowery Jr. said. "He's a warrior."

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