Highlands product Campbell having career year for UPJ baseball team
College Football Videos
Clean-shaven now that his spring-training moustache is gone, Jeff Campbell is making clean contact at the plate.
“The moustache was for Florida; 10 of us had them,” said Campbell, a senior third baseman at Pitt-Johnstown. “I let it grow for a while, but I shaved it. I didn't want a moustache tan line.”
Campbell, a Highlands graduate, is putting together a career season and he credits a new approach at the plate for the influx of impressive stats.
“I am trying to keep the ball to the right side of the field,” said Campbell, a fourth-year starter. “I try to get my foot down earlier and it's paying off right now. I am hitting the ball harder and with more pop.”
Heading into the weekend, Campbell had a team-leading four home runs and four triples.
He was hitting .372 in a potent lineup that also has three .400-or-better hitters — Zach Vignero (.460), Jake Warner (.439) and Mike Palkovitz (.413).
The Mountain Cats had a 16-11 record (8-9 WVIAC) through Friday.
“Jeff has been a defensive stud for us and now his bat is clicking too,” UPJ coach Todd Williams said. “It has come about through his hard work and determination to bring that end of his game up along with his defense.”
A pull-hitter throughout high school and during his first two seasons at UPJ, Campbell is more than happy to go to the opposite field.
“I mean, wherever it goes, it goes,” said Campbell, who hits sixth or seventh in the order. “But I am doing more with the right-center and center part of the field. My coaches helped with that approach and I really worked on it in the fall.”
Patience also has become a part of each plate appearance for Campbell.
“I led the team in strikeouts last year and I had 60 less (at-bats) than the kid with the most at-bats,” he said. “That was my big key — get the Ks down and hit over .300.”
Campbell missed 25 games of his sophomore season with a broken hand he suffered while sliding into first.
He is more careful now on the base paths, even on steal attempts.
And speaking of stealing, Campbell could be someone who prevents theft in the future. He is considering becoming a state police officer.
“I have wanted to be a cop since I was a junior in high school,” he said. “I want to help out and give back to the community. It's dangerous, but it also has its benefits.”
Just like shaving with a new blade.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Slippery Rock, Cal U in huge showdown
- District college football preview: Cal (Pa.) visits Slippery Rock in PSAC clash
- Switch to volleyball paying off for Kittanning grad Schall at Allegheny
- District college notebook: Geneva women’s volleyball team keeps rolling
- Second-half barrage lifts Cal U over Seton Hill
- Jeannette grad Craft running hard for St. Vincent football team
- Senior laden Robert Morris men’s hockey team hopes to erase last season’s disappointment