This is Brian Campbell's senior year. What's the Franklin native hitting now? Last weekend, in a doubleheader against Adelphi, Campbell went 6-for-8, raising his batting average to .368.
BY Lenny Megliola
Special to the Daily News
.347. .318. .323.
That's what Brian Campbell hit during his first three seasons at Stonehill College. To Skyhawks' coach Pat Boen, there's no mystery to Campbell's dependable bat. "Brian hits before and after practices. He's dedicated to hitting. It just comes (easy) to him."
This is Campbell's senior year. What's the Franklin native hitting now? Last weekend, in a doubleheader against Adelphi, Campbell went 6-for-8, raising his batting average to .368.
"He's just a terrific hitter," said Boen.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound left fielder hit over .500 in his senior year at Mount Saint Charles Academy. "That was my favorite year there," he said. "No one picked us to do well. We just missed the playoffs when we lost the last game of the season."
In the beginning he played shortstop, but his bat got him in the lineup as a DH.
He also played hockey in middle school. He enjoyed it, until he got a concussion. "It was pretty bad," he said. "Then I had a couple of minor ones after that. After one concussion, it's easier to get another. I'd heard some horror stories about kids with concussions."
Before Campbell went off to Stonehill, he discussed the concussion situation with his parents. They were talking no chances. He would not play college hockey. "That was really hard," said Campbell. But it was a family decision. He understood.
In high school, he had been a setup guy on the ice, playing left wing. Mount Saint Charles won three straight state titles. In his senior year, key players had graduated. Still the school made it to the state final, losing a best-of-three series. "I could put the puck in the net, but I was more of a playmaker," said Campbell. "I set up teammates in front of the net."
That senior year seemed like it would never end. "It went from Thanksgiving to St. Patrick's Day," said Campbell
He was ready for college baseball.
Stonehill plays in the Northeast-10 Conference. Campbell visited all the NE-10 schools. "I wanted to get a feeling for them." But he also knew "I wanted to go to a small Catholic school."
In his junior and senior years of high school, Campbell attended a few baseball showcases, including one in Florida, but it was the one held at Boston College where he got recruited by Stonehill assistant coach Nick SantaBarbara. "He became a mentor to me," said Campbell.
Boen said like any overachiever "Brian keeps working at hitting, then you just let him go."
Just like freshman year, when Campbell had to earn a spot in the starting lineup. "Once he got going he was never going to come out of the lineup," said his coach.
The staff's reaction to the young thunderbolt? "It was — Wow! — he's better than we thought he was," said Boen. Campbell, who bats lefty, hits in the three hole.
"A lot of older guys helped me that (freshman) year," said Campbell, who has had the same roommate, pitcher Mike Krupczak, for four years.
Campbell said his sophomore year was "an eye-opener. Teams had scouted me." He hit .318, a drop of .29 points from his first season. He kept taking extra BP. The Skyhawks won a school record 33 regular-season games last season. Campbell realized opponents were pitching him differently. "I saw a lot more changeups and curves. I became a lot more patient."
Campbell is not a power hitter per se. But hitting third he knows he has to drive in runs. "I'm a gap hitter, a spray hitter. The RBI are starting to come." As for the 6-for-8 day against Adelphi, "I was in a zone," he said.
"Scouts were at our game against Franklin Pierce," said Boen. "Brian had a couple of doubles and stole a base." Duly noted.
"I'd love to play professionally," said Campbell, but if doesn't work out this summer he's got a career path mapped out. A biology major, Campbell will work at Greenberg Physical and Hand Therapy on Martha's Vineyard.
Until then, he's got many more swings to take for the Skyhawks. That smooth lefty swing, you know?
Lenny Megliola can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at lennymegs.